Nobody owns the water but charge a rental for the privilege of the 49%

So John Key is right. Nobody owns the water. But that doesn't mean that any private company or public/private company should be able to use it without a regular rental to the public for the privilege. Whether this rental should be paid to Government for the commercial use of the water or partly to Tuwharetoa needs of course to be resolved. What did surprise me was that David Clendon the Green Party spokesperson missed the opportunity to apply Green Party policy on a tax on the commercial use of water. Well if he was just the Treaty spokesperson, where were the leaders in the resource rental business? Have they forgotten their policy or are they just focussing on the snub John Key gave to the Waitangi Tribunal by announcing he didn't have to take any notice of their findings? It was fine when Mighty River Power was a publicly owned power company (well it still is, let's keep it that way despite the empowering legislation!). Tuwharetoa was happy for the public to use the water. But sell 49% to private owners and the scene changes. Now 49% of the water is going to be used for a private purpose, so there should be an appropriate rental paid for the privilege. 49% private ownership means those private owners don't own the water because, as John Key said, nobody owns water. Therefore those who use it in commercial quantities should pay a regular rental to the public. Does this mean charging half water rental to the company once half is bought by private people? No it doesn't actually. It means charge a full rate to the shareholders for the water the shareholders have the privilege of using. That is the principle of resource taxes. Private/public partnerships make the whole set up ridiculous. When it is fully publicly owned there doesn't have to be any rental paid to the public. It is only when a subset of the public owns it or part of it that a rental should be charged. All this talk of extra shares and so on is wrong. The fact is that there should be an ongoing rental charged, not a one off charge. Otherwise the whole selling thing should be called off, which is only logical

Vision and core policy discussion at an Otaki Meeting

Today we had 16 attending a meeting in Otaki. Although we only had only an afternoon to get through a lot, we agreed on at least the following core points: Our vision is for a New Zealand.. 1. Where we have full employment in quality fulfilling work for those wanting it. 2. Where sufficiency is a natural right. 3. Where New Zealanders are happy. 4. Where there is a 'reverence' for nature 5. Where the national and local economies are resilient in the face of shocks or threats. 6. Where there are vibrant and functioning local communities. 7. Where full human rights and responsibilities are affirmed and supported. 8. Where our economy is operating as a healthy living organism, like a social ecosystem. Our core policy ideals  1. New Zealand has the right to control the issue of its sovereign currrency. 2. We will reform the banking system including reregulation. 3. We will remove the imperative for growth. 4. We will seek radical monetary reform, including enabling multiple currencies. 5. We will stop land speculation. 6. We will discourage damaging speculative activity in currencies. 7. We support apprenticeships. 8. We will introduce a form of Universal Basic Income (UBI). 9. We will repatriate strategic assets. 10. We will enable local banks, local currencies and local redevelopment. 11. We will build stronger local economies and strengthen local community. Three of us had been to the Values Party 40th reunion the previous day and we reported on the exciting day we had. We looked back, evaluated progress over 40 years and identified where we hadn't succeeded. It had been agreed that inequality had widened and the environment had deteriorated over that time, despite all our rhetoric and our work. The reunion proposed a thinktank to challenge and improve Green policy. In fact the reunion was part of the Green Party conference and a book Beyond Today, a Values Story had been launched to link Greens with their origin. So just as the Values Party did forty years ago, we had a delightful conversation about our long term and short term strategies and tactics. We had two columns, one for blue sky scenario and one for a realistic scenario. We are aiming to stand candiates for the local body election next year and for the next general election.      

Asset Sales or River Sales?

Asset sales are really river sales

25 November 2011

If asset sales go ahead then we will lose control over our big rivers, according to Laurence Boomert, Wellington Central candidate for the New Economics Party.

“Not only is it bordering on treason to sell our precious assets, but there are rivers like the Waikato and the Waitaki involved too.

“There is a link between asset sales of our major generation companies and the risk of associated loss of public control of our rivers with that transaction. These are our sacred rivers, our taonga and are the source of much life. They are not a commodity to be bought and sold.”
“These publicly-owned energy companies have a very big influence on our hydro river catchments. On the Waitaki River, for example, Mighty River Power has legal claim over waters, they own big tracts of land, can have interests in irrigation supply networks and can secure "requiring authority" to purchase land that they need for their schemes.”  Selling 49% of Meridian means selling 49% of the Waitaki River. We don’t want the water to be sold.

“We don't think that the majority of New Zealanders have made these crucial connections and therefore risk making under-informed decisions on Saturday’s election.”

For further comment phone Laurence Boomert 027 258 8807

What are the real political issues this election?

Well I sat through The Nation this morning on television, really had to hold myself in the seat because I was so bored. Reflections on the leaders, the campaigns really had little to offer other than saying Labour was on the front foot because they were realistic enough to tell us they would raise the pension age to 67.

So what are the real election issues? In my view they are the Greek bailout with a further loan, the Occupy Wall Street international movement, our borrowing of $300m a week so we can pretend all is well and we can maintain our lifestyle for ever, the Thailand floods and the price of food.

So why on earth would I pick those issues? I pick Occupy Wall Street because the world is waking up to the fact that our banks have been allowed to get so big and deal in such crazy sums of their exotic 'financial instruments' that Governments deem them too big to fail. People are waking up that the banks rule the world, particularly Goldmann Sachs, JP Morgan, Barclays and Bank of America.

Secondly I pick the Greek bailout because it is only going to last for six months and each time there is a bailout the politicians in France and Germany become less and less re-electable.  You can't solve a debt problem with more debt. The relevance for NZ is that we are going further and further into debt with our borrowing programme and we just might end up like Greece ourselves.

I picked the Thailand floods because of the relevance for our rice prices and the critical nature of climate change in the future of our economy. Yes I am not just talking about more extreme weather events for our grandchildren to suffer, but I am talking here and now there is damage to our economy. Import costs rise every time there is a crop failure somewhere in the world. And climate change is going to affect the income we get from our agricultural exports too.

Why is the price of food so critical? Because whether or not people link it with crop failure or with rising prices of oil which affects the price of fertilisers, pesticides, agricultural practice and transportation they sure know when food prices rise. A professor at New England Complex Systems Institute Yaneer Bar-Yam is working on the relationship between food prices and political uprising and maintains the relationship is strong.

There is another issue and that is the sale of state assets. I will deal with the relationship between that and our policies in another blog entry some time soon.