Monday, 28 April 2008

Vector sale decision hangs on political knife edge

From the Share Investor Blog an article with a political bite which continues in the vein of The Labour Party and its inconsistent political decisions purely based on returning them to power regardless of the real consequences and the impression it gives the voting public at large.

The dilemma I would be facing now if I was a minister in the New Zealand Government is, if I gave to go ahead for the Hong Kong based, Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings (CKI) to buy 100% of Vector (NZ Herald story) energy's[VCT] lines infrastructure, in the Wellington region, then I would be going against a decision I made just a few weeks ago to refuse the sale of a non-controlling interest in Auckland International Airport[AIA], to a Canadian pension fund, thereby making me look like an utter plonker.

On the other hand If I turned down the sale of arguably a much more "strategic" asset, again Wellington region power line infrastructure, then I would put the Chinese Government's nose out of joint by reneging on detail of various free trade agreements made only a couple of weeks ago and again look like an utter plonker.

Lets face it, our government is at least consistent in its inconsistency.The vetoed sale of the airport and Vector's Wellington lines is the same scenario whatever way one cuts the cable.To say otherwise is to be just ever so slightly more than economical with the truth. For Helen Clark to give the reasons for a go ahead for a Vector sale that "the sale doesn't include any sensitive or strategic land" is a pure unadulterated lie. She made reference to the Airport sale over this "land issue" but that deal wasn't turned down because of "sensitive land", it was turned down for political reasons.

The issue of land rights in the Vector deal may actually be applicable. The power infrastructure and lines that Vector is selling has to have easements over the land they transverse thereby making Helen Clark's claim just a generator or two short of a full load.

It is hard to say what the Labour Government will do in the Vector case, but one can be sure it will be a purely political decision, rather than the financial one it should be, and once again the investing public is unsure about how their investments will be treated by such Governments in future takeovers.The consistency we investors need, especially during these tough economic times, is found wanting by the very authorities that are supposed to be instilling security and a level hand to one of the backbones of our economy-the stockmarket and the essential funds it provides for investment and economic expansion.

The university trained political plonkers who make these decisions have clearly not woken up to the fact that they are not working in theories anymore and the real world consequences of their ludicrous strokes of the pen is costing us millions.Vector is going to retire some of its large debt with the proceeds of the sale, ironically established when management went on a buying spree around 5 years ago and borrowed heavily to buy the Networks now up for sale off United Networks.

Worryingly, Micheal Stiassny, Board Chairman and his management are also looking to use proceeds to buy more infrastructure assets, probably "greener" forms of electricity assets, like wind turbines, in which they already have interests in. Stiassny and his crew don't have a good track record in management or the purchasing of assets.

Investors marked VCT shares down 1c to NZ $2.10 on average volume on today's news.

Related Share Investor Reading

Cullen's move on Auckland Airport has far reaching effects

Related Reading

NZ Herald report on Vector sale

c Share Investor & Political Animal 2008

Friday, 25 April 2008

TIME Magazine slips inconvenient truths past it's readers

An absolute cracker of an editorial in a business paper that I picked up while in a recent visit to San Francisco.

The paper gives a more enlightened and investigative view rather than the left wing drivel that comes from the likes of the New York Times and Washington Post.

On issues like so-called climate change the papers writers are spot on. In reference to the latest dross written in this weeks TIME magazine the magazines authors leave out the inconvenient truth(thanks Al) about an article they wrote in 1974 about an impending ice age. They do not reference THAT article in their 2008 diatribe.

Politicians in New Zealand and globally would do well to pick up and read such fact based writing, for the fairy dust stuff they are basing economically disastrous rorts such as carbon trading and associated taxes is only going to see an end to our way of life as we know it.

Food shortages because of wasteful and environmentally unfriendly bio-fuel production is only the start.

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY Posted Friday, April 18, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Media: Time calls green "the new red, white and blue" and likens global warming to the fight against Nazism and fascism. As it insults World War II vets, the magazine seeks to impose a tyranny all its own.

We never cease to be amazed by the inability of the left to feel shame and its lack of reverence for America and those who defend its freedoms, including the right to be stupid. The cover of the April 21 issue of Time, taking the famous Joe Rosenthal photo of Marines planting our flag on the blood-soaked island of Iwo Jima and replacing our flag with a tree, qualifies for obscenity of the year.

It echoes the greenie theme first advanced by Al Gore in his book "Earth In The Balance" that the internal combustion engine is the greatest threat in the history of mankind. Gore and Bill Clinton have both said that global warming is ultimately a greater threat than terrorism.
That, admitted Time managing editor Richard Stengel, was the thinking behind the cover story. "One of the things we do in this story," he said last week on MSNBC, "is we say there needs to be an effort along the lines of preparing for World War II to combat global warming and climate change."

This trivializing of the sacrifice of American blood and treasure to defend freedom ignores the fact that in World War II we faced a real enemy with a terrible agenda. The bombs that fell on Pearl Harbor were quite real, not the output of some badly fed computer model.
"Global warming may or may not be a significant threat to the United States," Tim Holbert, a spokesman for the American Veterans Center, told the Business and Media Institute (BMI): "The Japanese Empire on February 1945, however, certainly was, and this photo trivializes the most recognizable moment of one of the bloodiest battles in U.S. history."

It was not that long ago that the media, including Time, was singing a different tune and waging a different war.

An article in its June 24, 1974, issue entitled "Another Ice Age?" told of how, "when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe, they find that the atmosphere has been gradually cooler for the past three decades."

Time spoke then of a "global climatic upheaval" and "climatological Cassandras who are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age."

Reputable scientists and satellite and other observations have noted another cooling period under way since 1998. Declining solar activity in the current cycle correlates with other cool periods in Earth's history. It ties in perfectly with climate history that shows the warming and cooling of Earth is a natural and cyclical process.

A man who knows a little about fighting totalitarianism, Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, wrote in the Financial Times last year:

"As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning."

Lt. John Keith Wells, leader of the platoon that raised the flags on Mt. Suribachi, told BMI: "That global warming is the biggest joke I've ever known." He knows a real enemy and a real threat when he sees one.

Related Political Animal reading
Kyoto critic comes to town - Sunday Star Times
Ponder the Maunder - 15 Yr old Kristin Byrne explodes the GW myth

c Political Animal 2008

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Helen Clark: Ian Wishart's "Absolute Power" book

Absolute Power - coming soon, pre-order now for guaranteed delivery

Looking for Ian Wisharts full account of the donations for passports scandal involving Yang Liu, Shane Jones and Dover Samuels, currently engulfing the Labour Party in October 2008? 

Please go here.

Related Political Animal reading

Labour's State control out of control

Trevor Mallards anti Violence advert
Sign anti smacking petition
Anti smacking law puts young boy at risk
Electoral Finance Bill: The purpose is clear
Ian Wishart: Passport Scandal- two ministers, one MP implicated

I must have been asleep over the last 3 weeks since this wee ditty was announced.

Now I'm not a big Ian Wishart fan but I'm guessing that this is going to have a decent sort of impact when it comes out and as Wishart has said in his statement below he might be lucky not to have an injunction served on it by the great leader herself.

Having said that the book's contents may have me dancing and singing like some demented Labour Party member with a fetish for Kenny Rogers and John Key and I could well celebrate with a cheeseburger and Coke, before the Food Police pass new sweeping powers to stop me having a coronary.

On the other hand I could get so angry with malice over the mere thought of the cover photo of the beautiful leader and throw an item of clothing at my child, get arrested and charged with assault under the new anti smacking law and then have the case thrown out of court.

Its serious stuff and deserves far more serious consideration than I can give it in my present mood but this is probably all the subject of the book requires.


*APRIL 21*

Ian Wishart's major new title, "ABSOLUTE POWER: The Helen Clark Years" is coming soon. We used to joke “buy it before they ban it”. But now the Electoral Finance Act has been passed. All we can say is, if you don’t pre-order a copy for Day One, you might not get a chance on Day Two.


c Political Animal 2008

Friday, 11 April 2008

Labour Vetoes voters' rights

From the Share Investor Blog today, in a unsurprising and but naked grab for votes in this 2008 election year, 50000 voters have just had their property rights trampled on because the Auckland Airport Merger with the Canadian Pension Plan Investment board has been turned down.
David Parker, Minister of a ship of

Watch for the Poodle Party and its titular head Winston Peters come out waving the New Zealand Flag today. Its hard to keep a straight face though when he supports a government that has signed a "free trade" deal with China.

The politics of envy is alive and well in socialist, communist Aotearoa.

State Services Minister David Parker and Associate Finance Minister Clayton Cosgrove have vetoed the sale of Auckland International Airport[AIA]

After over a year of negotiations by two prospective parties, The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board and Dubai Aeronautical Enterprise, all the time money and expertise that has gone into brokering a deal has been reduced to an international farce by the stroke of a socialist government pen.

The intervention has come at a time when markets are shaky and the economy is on a downturn and this added uncertainty has disappointed the market again and the 50000 odd voting age Mums and Dads who voted overwhelmingly in March to allow the CPPIB to buy their shares.

It is not hard to imagine what the CPPIB next move might be, but they have 3 options. Walk away completely, walk away while making a financial claim against the New Zealand Government, for their costs involved in axing a deal by retrospectively changing an overseas investment law, or push on in the courts to allow them to seal the deal.

The Auckland Airport would also have a claim for the millions of dollars of costs incurred for its shareholders because of the retrospective law.

NZ Herald's Auckland Airport merger coverage to date

The Battle for the Airport

Share Investor merger coverage to date

Latest Airport coverage
Cullen's move on Auckland Airport has far reaching effects
Cullen's move on AIA tax plan Anti-Business
AIA profit stays grounded
Softening opposition to CPPIB bid for AIA
Directors of AIA bribe brokers not to sell
What is Auckland Airport worth to you?
Second bite at AIA by CPPIB might just fly
AIA new directors must focus on shareholders
Auckland Airport merger deal nosedives
The Canadians have landed
AIA incentive scheme must fly out the window
Government market manipulation over AIA/DAE deal
DAE move on AIA: Will it fly?

Disclosure: I own AIA shares

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Labour first to break own Electoral Finance Act

Political Animal Electoral Finance Act coverage

2008 Electoral Finance Act protest
Electoral Finance Act March Mar 9, 2008
Electoral Finance Bill Vote
NZ losses democratic freedom
Mike Moore turns the knife
List of MPs who voted for Act
Cartoon and comment
2007 Auckland Protest against EFB
The purpose of the Bill is clear

The Labour Party has been the first political party to breach the Electoral Finance Act, but it is to be let off with a warning, friends in high places I think.

The Electoral Commission met on Wednesday to consider whether a number of political pamphlets breached the new act.

It found that the Labour Party's booklet entitled We're Making a Difference is an election advertisement, and needed an authorisation statement.

The commission says that as it is the first breach of the Electoral Finance Act, it will use this as an example.

But it says political parties are on notice that any similar breaches will be referred to police.

As is usual with grubby, raincoat wearing socialists, it is a case of do as I say, not as I do and the state apparatus has fallen in behind. Isn't the example better made by prosecuting rather than letting the law breakers get off?

Absolutely. But we shouldn't be surprised of course. This bunch passed retrospective law to make stealing taxpayers money to buy the 2005 election legal.

There is still no news about the $100,000.00 loan made to the Labour party by Owen Glenn after the 2005 election and not disclosed.

Related Political Animal reading

Owen Glenn: Snouts in the trough
The Owen Glenn story: Singing the same tune but hitting a bum note
Labour Party Election funding murky at best

c Political Animal 2008

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Charity begins at the money source

Winston Peters, in much happier times.

Related nzherald links:

You just know it is election year when members of Winston "Baubles" Peters party, NZ First start poking their tongues out at immigrants.

Once again it was Asian immigrants who bore the brunt of the poodle party's wrath and ironically it was a 10 pound pom who was the chief protagonist.

Appealing to NZ Firsts near dead voter constituency of over 80 year olds who thinks Winston is "cute" in that Italian suit and $200 dollar haircut, immigration looks set to become the party's main platform on which to launch itself for the election.

Fantastic, xenophobia, attacks on journalists and giving to worthy causes will be Winston's three key points this year-hold your hand like a horizontal scout salute when you make those points OK.

Unfortunately for us, Winston's largess in giving to charity means we miss out on the $158,000 he purloined from the taxpayer wallet to get himself elected in 2005. Hell, even the biggest bandits of them all, The Labour Party, paid back the more than $800,000 they stole to buy the same election.

In fact I think I may employ Winston's "charitable deductions" when it comes to paying the alarm mans bill on Friday.

No Sir, I don't believe I will pay your bill, I would like to nominate we pay the food bill this week with it instead. The alarm man is bigger than me, and I suspect I might get a well deserved thick ear, even at the mere suggestion.

The arrogance of the man is only surpassed by his obvious vanity and lack of ability to do his job.

Like alot of parliamentarians, he simply is a useless wanker.

Related Political animal reading

Peter's Baubles giving him big trouble
Winston Peter's Big Baubles

c Political Animal 2008

Wheres the Love? [Extended Political Animal Edition]
Government cost to business hasn't been ameliorated by today's quadrangle of
State interference that kicked off, appropriately, on April 1.

Just we wee addendum to the original article. In parliament today, listeners would have heard Michael Cullen et al waxing lyrically about how much the Labour Government had "given" to New Zealanders over the years and the latest raft on handouts, mentioned below were added to the long list.

Labour gave us free student loans, more holidays, 20 free hours childcare,higher wages,more holidays,corporate tax cuts, yadda, yadda.

The point is clear to me and underlined by a great speech by Act's Heather Roy who just happened to mention that Labour gave us none of those things. It was our money to begin with and how about giving some of it back so we can make our own decisions about what we want to do with our moola!

Originally published @ Share Investor Blog 1 April 2008

I cant help myself talking about it, politics is intrinsically linked to investing and business and in New Zealand our economy is hugely influenced by what the government of the day does to it more than most global economies.

The introduction and trumpeting today by our Labour government of 4 things that "they are proud of" that will "help business" has less to do with helping business but more to do with election year and keeping control over the economy and its participants.

The much ballyhooed 3% cut in corporate tax rates, taxpayer handouts to business for research and development, employer contributions to Kiwisaver and the lift of the minimum wage to 12 bucks all run against each other in their purpose and execution.

The over hyped tax cut and R & D subsidy for our corporates hides the fact that Kiwisaver, the associated paper work and the lift in wages easily dwarfs the meager 3% cut already.

Include all the other government imposed costs to business over the last 9 years, like higher ACC, energy and carbon taxes and nonsense like employer funded maternity leave(what is wrong with the family paying, a novel idea I know, but just an idea) and an extra weeks leave for workers and even the blind, deaf, dribbling and Labour voters(OK maybe that is a stretch) can see how far behind business is.

The tax cut would have to be at least down to a 25% rate to get business back to where it was in 1999, in terms of costs and return of capital.

That way, business could afford to fund R & D from cashflow instead of another army of extra State funded bureaucrat's handing out taxpayer money to those they see should get our money-I mean these people picking business winners? I doubt many of them can remember their PIN numbers let alone pick good businesses.

What is missing from today's election focused "take more it and give some back" approach to business is a bold statement to business, especially small business, the back bone of this country, that the country values your contribution and we are going to reward your entrepreneurship.

State attached funding via R & D subsidies and other quasi government welfare schemes, extra business expense and paperwork isn't a good way to show that we love business.

I fear the present administration doesn't like the independence and confidence that self employment or owning your own business brings and are doing everything they can to inextricably link business owners quest for economic freedom by weighting business and therefore the economy down with cost and bureaucracy.

A 3% company tax cut isn't going to cut it for those hard working individuals who own companies and in fact bypasses those who are sole traders entirely.

Its time to show business we love them.

Not the opposite.

Related Political Animal reading

Labour's State Control Out of control

c Share Investor & Political Animal 2008