What’s Next, Privatizing Air?

Not one but two trade deals, the TPP and TISA (Trade in Services Agreement) are percolating over the holiday period. The TPP will allow corporates to set the rules for over 40% of world trade. TISA will break open financial and other services, even essential infrastructure and social services, to make it easier for corporates to come in and take control, profits, and our privacy off to whatever tax haven they are registered in. Continue reading

The Government Should Stop Taking Economic Advice from the McDonald’s Website

“Selling some of your unwanted possessions on eBay or Craigslist could bring in some quick cash.” is apparently the advice offered on the subject of ‘Digging Out From Holiday Debt’ by McDonald’s McResource Line. McResource Line is a website the company runs to provide its U.S. employees with financial and health-related tips.

It seems the National government has taken their advice to heart, except that it’s not unwanted holiday gifts they are selling off, it’s our essential assets; such as power companies carefully built up by previous generations of taxpaying New Zealanders so that everyone could afford to heat their homes. Continue reading

Chorus, the Commerce Commission, and the Common Good

The government has told us repeatedly it can’t intervene in decisions of private companies or even State Owned Enterprises. It said it couldn’t possibly direct KiwiRail to build its rolling stock at Hillside Workshops, even though KiwiRail is actually owned by the government and hundreds of jobs were lost. It says it certainly can’t ensure that aged care workers receive a living wage, even though the government pays the full cost of service provision and has to top up the low wages with the likes of accommodation supplements and working for families tax credits.

However it appears that the government can intervene to make sure Chorus shareholders don’t miss out on any dividends. It is considering simply overruling the Commerce Commission decision that found Chorus was overpricing its copper wire network and consumers were paying too much for the internet services. Continue reading

Can the Government Guarantee Domestic Power Prices if the Power Companies Are Sold?

The government says domestic power prices will not rise steeply if shares are sold in the three publicly owned power companies, but can they guarantee it? And what if they are wrong? This has the Alliance Party worried, according to co leader Kay Murray.

Continue reading