Advice to Mum and Dad Investors

I was impressed and excited to read a local finance broker’s advice to potential “mum and dad” investors in privatized public assets in the Otago Daily Times (Friday 6 July 2012).
Mr Chris Timms of Craigs Investment Partners says any complaints about ordinary Kiwis not being able to get in on the sale of the 21st century are misplaced.
It comes down to lifestyle choices and priorities.
Cut out the cigarettes and takeaways, and you can be in to win.
As Mr Timms says, you can save money, be healthier and buy some shares.
I agree.
It is a well known fact that the working classes of New Zealand expend their lives in a haze of cigarette smoke, while simultaneously pouring jugs of beer down their throats and stuffing their ample jaws with burgers and chips.
It’s amazing they actually find time to work full time and raise families.
In some cases, they linger on well into their seventies on superannuation (another drain on the economy.)
We need to buy back the assets we already own because we needed to give tax cuts to high income people, like finance industry high flyers for example. Continue reading

Alliance Party Warns Investors that Asset Sales Can Be Reversed

For the Alliance Party the Mixed Ownership Bill is a case of ground-hog day. The Alliance was formed to fight the privatization agenda of the 1980’s and 1990’s. “We find it profoundly depressing that this government is determined to repeat the failures of the past,” said Co Leader Kay Murray. Continue reading

Was New Zealand's UN water vote flop due to privatization plans?

The Alliance Party has criticized a decision by New Zealand delegates at the United Nations to abstain from a vote to have safe drinking water and sanitation recognized as a basic human right.

Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says that fortunately for the 884 million people worldwide who don’t have access to safe drinking water and more than 2.6 billion who lack access to basic sanitation, 122 countries did vote in favour of the resolution.

“As a result, no thanks to New Zealand’s delegation, the right to water and sanitation is now recognized by the United Nations as a human right.”

Ms Murray says the New Zealand representative’s excuse that “the text had been tabled before the delegation had had an opportunity to consider its provisions” was difficult to fathom.

“It is a very simple concept. People need water and adequate sanitation to live. Anything that is a necessity of life should be a basic human right. ”

In introducing the resolution the Bolivian representative stated that some 1.5 million children under five years old died each year from water and sanitation related diseases.

Ms Murray says the Alliance Party wonders if the New Zealand decision was influenced by the privatization agenda for water that is becoming apparent in New Zealand.

“If everyone is entitled as of right to water, it will restrict profiteering by global corporations taking control of our water under National’s privatization agenda and free trade deals.”

That the USA abstained from the vote was no doubt another major factor, as it seems as far as the National Government is concerned, where the USA goes New Zealand follows.

ENDS

For more information, contact Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray on 0211672843

No Hide(ing) from Water Privatisation

The Alliance is 100 percent opposed to the creeping privatisation of local facilities, especially water, that is being promoted by Local Government Minister Rodney Hide.

Alliance Economic Development Spokesperson Quentin Findlay says that Mr Hide was unsuccessfully trying to conceal the threat of water privatization under the Local Government Amendment Act.

“Rodney can’t hide the fact that private business concerns are going to have the power to turn off the taps for a considerable period of time under the amendments to the Local Body Act.”

Mr Findlay said that the new Act was a “Trojan Horse” that handed multinational companies like the Suez Company and Veolia Environment S.A. access into a New Zealand “water market.”

“Experience around the world shows once private companies are involved in water provision, costs incurred by the taxpayer actually increase. In England, where privatization had occurred, tariffs had increased by 47% in nine years.”

Mr Findlay says the Alliance Party did not want private-public partnerships in water.

“Basic infrastructure such as water and electricity should be in public ownership, administered for the public good by democratically elected public bodies. There should be no private profit from public facilities.”

Local Government New Zealand had noted that some local bodies accepted the public-private partnership model as they were not able to extend or repair existing infrastructure.

Mr Findlay said that while such a concern was understandable, the problem could be overcome very easily.

“Simply, the state could maintain an infrastructure organisation which would undertake infrastructure repair or upgrades such as maintaining, replacing or extending water pipes in areas where local bodies had funding or manpower issues. Such a body would be similar to the old Ministry of Works.”

The Alliance would be prepared to break contracts with private firms and take basic infrastructure such as water back into public ownership.

National's latest threat to schools must be stopped

The Alliance Party says a plan to have schools built and owned by private companies is shortsighted and full of potential problems.
Official documents have revealed the National Government will announce the construction of a privately-built state school in this year’s Budget.
Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says the benefit from the Government leasing privately owned schools will not be to school children or parents, but to a new class of landlords.
She says the plan will further disrupt an education system which is already in uproar over so-called national standards, which are facing a revolt from teachers and concerned parents, and the widely-condemned “junk food” scheme which saw National throwing out nutritional guidelines for school canteens.
“Private public partnerships are a bright idea for the wealthy few to increase their wealth at the expense of the community. There is no merit in this idea.”
“It makes no financial sense at all to have large multinational corporations owning schools, who will borrow to build knowing that there is no risk because they have a guaranteed tenant.”
Ms Murray says there will be little to prevent private owners from increasing “school rents” by whatever they feel like in the future.
“It is simply a scheme to transfer money from hard pressed New Zealand families to private and possibly multinational landlords.”
Then there is the question of whether the private owners will maintain schools to the standard required, particularly if profits are threatened.
“What happens if private investors use schools to speculate on property values, or if they go bankrupt? What happens to school children while the Government, Boards of Trustees and the new owners of our schools wrangle in the Courts over contracts gone bad and schools that have substandard facilities or maintenance?”
Ms Murray says we should learn from past when it comes to privatising our essential infrastructure.
“Private ownership of school infrastructure will be another expensive mistake, in the same vein as TranzRail. Eventually the taxpayers will have to buy out the private companies and spend large amounts of money to bring facilities up to scratch again.”
The Alliance says schools must be built whenever and wherever they are needed through public funds.
“It is money well spent if it ensures every child continues to have access to a quality publicly owned and operated school.”

Stop privatization of NZ prisons

The Alliance Party fully supports the Corrections Association in their battle to prevent the privatisation of prison management in New Zealand.

Alliance Party co leader Kay Murray says it is horrifying that the National Government has already gone ahead and called for expressions of interest from private organizations in the management of prisons.

“They have totally ignored expert advice, including that of the union representing Corrections staff, who unlike the politicians, actually have to work in our prisons and know first hand what conditions are like.”

Ms Murray says prisons are expensive to run, no matter who is running them.

She says there will be no cost savings in tendering management to private organizations.

“These organizations will want to make a profit. The taxpayers will end up paying the running costs plus the profit margin plus the cost of monitoring private organizations and of the tendering process itself.”

Ms Murray says there is also a real danger that private operators will try to increase their profits by cutting staffing levels and eroding pay and conditions.

“This will endanger prison staff, prisoners and the public at large. Prison staff have a difficult and dangerous job at the best of times.”

She says not many New Zealanders run the risk of serious injury every time they go to work, and prison officers deserve decent wages and working conditions.

They also deserve to have sufficient numbers of staff employed to make sure that prisoners stay behind bars and that the prison environment is as safe as possible for both prison officers and other prisoners.

Ms Murray says overseeing the justice system is a key function of any Government.

“This includes our prisons which are an integral part of our justice system. Prisons must remain owned and run by the state.”