The HoS Poll

June 24th, 2012 at 8:19 am by David Farrar

The Herald on Sunday has their first post-election poll. The three major things I take from it are:

  • National remains high at 48% support
  • Only 25% support the partial
  • However 60% would buy shares in the companies if they had the money

The full results and a link to the full tables are at Curiablog. Some interesting aspects from the breakdowns: on

  • 88% to 89% of Labour and Green voters are against partial asset sales, but only 32% of National voters
  • National strongest amongst under 25s and 65 to 74 year olds
  • Labour is at just 19% amongst men!
  • 32% of men and only 19% of women support partial asset sales
  • Almost 70% of under 35s would buy shares if they had the money
  • 52% of Green voters and 54% of Labour voters say they will buy shares if they had the money

Winston has said he will nationalise the companies and confiscate the shares for the value originally purchased. If he forces this policy onto Labour, that is going to be potentially a lot of New Zealanders having their property confiscated.

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43 Responses to “The HoS Poll”

  1. iMP (2,333 comments) says:

    That’s ok, cos Winston has single-handedly confiscated Government several times.

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  2. Pete George (23,289 comments) says:

    I just watched The Nation repeat, and once again Peters is chasing a few populist votes with something that can’t and won’t happen – as he probably knows. I guess we’ll have to wait until next election to see if it’s a bottom line for him, and how that looks like affecting the likely coalition options.

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  3. dog_eat_dog (760 comments) says:

    Peters might think he’d be smart confiscating them at the sale price to reduce the Government’s liabilities, but the accountants and lawyers of the world would pretty quickly be seeking a court ruling that the lost margin represented a tax deductible loss, which would only mean the ‘rich pricks’ who could afford them would be getting a pretty big tax break as well.

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  4. Scott Chris (5,963 comments) says:

    32% of men and only 19% of women support partial asset sales

    Never mind the Reds under the bed. Most likely they’ll be lying beside you! :mrgreen:

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  5. Yvette (2,743 comments) says:

    Winston’s nationalisation plans –
    … but the accountants and lawyers of the world would pretty quickly be seeking a court ruling that the lost margin represented a tax deductible loss …
    May already be covered by the new USA-NZ [an others] trade agreement which will give corporations scope for action against Governments who disadvantage their position by changing legislation?

    Winston has said he will nationalise the companies and confiscate the shares
    Same poll [Herald on Sunday Key Research Poll June 2012] –
    NZ First 3.2% (-0.4%)

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  6. Ross12 (1,259 comments) says:

    In an article on the NBR site earlier in the week it was reported that Peter Dunne says the forgone dividend from the power companies will be $94mill/yr. Can someone confirm that this figure is correct.

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  7. eszett (2,357 comments) says:

    So a third of National voters and three quarters of all voters oppose partial asset sales.

    Hardly a good result for National.
    They cannot convince people that it’s a good thing, but they will do it anyway.

    And scaremongering on what WInston may or may not if he may or may not go govern with Labour reeks more of desperation than having a solid argumentation.

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  8. m@tt (606 comments) says:

    Only 25% support the partial asset sales
    However 60% would buy shares in the companies if they had the money

    The word ‘however’ doesn’t belong in the second point, it makes it appear that those two results are at odds.

    It’s a case of “Dad, putting the farm up for sale is a dumb idea and if you do I’m going to try and buy it myself”.

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  9. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    doggey thingy

    How do you get a tax deductictible loss when you buy something and are then forced to sell it back at the price that you paid for it?

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  10. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    Ross12

    I don’t know what the number is, but I do recall that Liebour inflated the dividend stream by including one-off dividends in the course of Goof’s lie campaign last November. Eg, there was in one case a capital reduction consequential on the sale of an underlying asset. My recollection is that the dividend yield on these assets is less than the Government bond rate.

    In any event, it doesn’t matter what the real dividend stream is, Liebour, the melons and the slime Peters will make up their own numbers as it suits their respective purposes. Peters, Little, Mallard, Shearer, Wussell, Turalooralei, have all shown admirable recent form in just pulling stuff out of their arses.

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  11. Keeping Stock (10,167 comments) says:

    @ Matt; despite asset sales being less than universally popular, more people support National now than on election night. I’m sure Labour and the Greens will take enormous comfort from how successful their campaign to demonise John Key has been :P

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  12. George Patton (350 comments) says:

    What kind of poll? Self selecting or random generated?
    How many people polled?
    Weighted for demographics? Or entirely of old people?
    Internet or Landline based sample?

    I only ask, because Sunday papers have a habit of running dodgy polls.

    [DPF: At the link is the full report. It was a random phone poll]

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  13. eszett (2,357 comments) says:

    Keeping Stock (7,772) Says:
    June 24th, 2012 at 9:12 am

    @ Matt; despite asset sales being less than universally popular, more people support National now than on election night.

    47.9% vs 47.3% for National on election night. Given that ACT has imploded and National has moped up the remains, “remains the same” is more like it.

    Greens and Labour are up 3 percentage points each (a total of six pp) over election night.

    Loosers are NZ First and ACT, Mana

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  14. wiseowl (817 comments) says:

    ‘a lot of New Zealanders having their property confiscated’

    That is in effect ,what National are doing now. Kiwis already own these assets but National are going to take them and sell them

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  15. Ross12 (1,259 comments) says:

    thedavincimode –here is the link to the article

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/tax-crackdown-bridges-revenue-loss-partial-asset-sales-dunne-wb-121632

    The relevant paragraph is :

    “That is ample cover for the $94 million annual projected shortfall left by the government’s plan to sell minority stakes in MightyRiverPower, Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy and Solid Energy, and should keep a lid on future tax hikes.”

    If this is correct and the Govt expect say $4 bill from the power companies partial sale where is the argument ? In round figures the sale is cashing in 35-40 years of dividend cashflow to meet the needs of building new assets or upgrading older assets now instead of the annual dividend going into the slush fund annually to be spent/wasted on things the voters would not have a clue about.

    If I am wrong with the facts/logic please let me know where I’ve got it wrong.

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  16. tvb (4,242 comments) says:

    The figure I find interesting is the 60% who will buy shares if they had the money. That leaves a challenge for the Government to get as wide a shareholding as possible amongst ordinary Kiwis.

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  17. Pete George (23,289 comments) says:

    Ross 12 @ 8.52am
    From Peter Dunne:

    I never said that – that was a figure quoted to me at the Finance & Expenditure Committee by Labour MPs. I cannot confirm it. They were asking how I was going to make up the alleged revenue shortfall that would cause. My response was that the $1.734 billion extra revenue we are expecting to raise over the next 5 years would more than offset any such loss.

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  18. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    It’s not really an answer to say that any loss in net revenue from selling assets will be made up by cracking down in another area. The two things are not connected.

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  19. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    Ross12

    I suspect that Dunne’s talking about $94m net of related servicing costs – it ain’t going to realise their $5/$6 b at a c. 2% div yield. My recollection is that Liebour were talking it up at about $800/$900m; when in fact it was at least $300/$400 less than that when normalised. Not sure what you mean though – are you saying that at that opportunity cost, why wouldn’t you sell?

    wiseowl doesn’t suggest a solution, as an alternative to raising this moolah being…

    1. no new gummint investment in infrastructure; or

    2. borrow more, or

    3. tax increases, or …

    One of the great ironies in this so-called debate is that the assets in question would not ever have existed were it not for state investment due to their scale relative to the size of this economy. Private capital would never have got those projects off the ground notwithstanding that they are relatively all low risk (as distinct from oil explortation that most citizens appear to not be interested in). This point eludes those who would rather hang onto what we have now, rather than sell down to NZers and reinvest elsewhere.

    There has been a legitimate historical role for gummint in NZ investing in infrastructure, particularly in light of our size and remoteness. Without it we would have no roads, rail (oops!) hospitals, dams, schools, telephones, postal service. It doesn’t follow that once the infrastructure is established and commercially viable that state ownership should continue at the expense of new initiatives.

    The original drivers for some of this historic seed capital may no longer exist. Remoteness is to an extent resolved by technology. But the fundamental fact remains that there continue to be large scale projects that won’t attract private capital either at all, or without state involvement. They include inter-generational assets whose benefits won’t be fully realised until 10 plus years time. So we either decide that no, enough is enough, and we leave these projects to the market (to die) and in doing so give broadband the flick, and tell Northland and Canterbury to fuck off. Or we try to make a call about the infrastructure that will have the maximum long term benefit. Either way though, there is no justification for retaining 100%, if indeed any, state ownership of mature commercial assets. Especially when kiwis are lining up to invest.

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  20. Alan Johnstone (1,077 comments) says:

    “The word ‘however’ doesn’t belong in the second point, it makes it appear that those two results are at odds.”

    Not really, I’m not convinced of the wisdom of these sales at this time, nor of the present administrations ability to sell them well.

    Will I buy shares ? Absolutely 100% certain to do in the case of MRP at a minimum.

    The first sale in particular will be priced to ensure an almost certain profit, otherwise the others will tank from a retail investor view, which of course is politically toxic.

    Just because I don’t think the sale should take place is no reason to refuse to buy shares, anything else is cutting off my nose to spite my face. I of course price the likelihood of Winston being in a position to reverse this and having the money to do so into my price calculations. I factor this in at about 0.01%

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  21. rg (199 comments) says:

    Again the pollsters use their influence against the ACT Party. With the election so close between the left and the right does anyone seriously think the Epsom voter will not vote ACT? These pollsters who predict zero seats for ACT are trying to suggest that the voters in Epsom would rather have a Labour Greeen govt than vote ACT for electorate seat. The pollsters have used their polls mischeviously year after year. They have been proven wrong every time. The zero seat for ACT interpretation can not be justified, it is just mischevious and I for one say to Curioblog that it has worse than no credibility., it is misusing its position to influence votes. Time for some regulation around this.

    [DPF: Curiablog assumes no seats for ACT because a public poll showed 75% of those who voted for Banks would not vote for him again. If further polls show this to change, the assumption will change]

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  22. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Can those who are consistently stating the Government is selling assets please list which assets are being sold.
    i.e the ‘assets’ that will no longer have the NZ Government as the majority shareholder and ergo no longer the owner.

    I expect this to be a very short list.

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  23. Viking2 (11,247 comments) says:

    wiseowl (94) Says:
    June 24th, 2012 at 9:34 am

    ‘a lot of New Zealanders having their property confiscated’

    That is in effect ,what National are doing now. Kiwis already own these assets but National are going to take them and sell them

    Fuck some are dumb.
    Name me one individual New Zealander, other than the participating minister who own a share by Act of Parliament, just one person that owns a single share or more in any of these assets.

    Being a Kiwi doesn’t make you an owner. If it did millions of Chinese would move here tomorrow.

    If you use that stupid argument then you should be paying my dead relaltives back for thier share and giving it to me.

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  24. Alan Johnstone (1,077 comments) says:

    each individual share is an “asset”

    From dictionary.com

    “assets
    a. Accounting The entries on a balance sheet showing all properties, both tangible and intangible, and claims against others that may be applied to cover the liabilities of a person or business. Assets can include cash, stock, inventories, property rights, and goodwill. ”

    Even selling a single share is a sale of an asset. Petty semantics can’t make it otherwise.

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  25. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Yes PEB, I’m sure that as soon as people realise the government is retaining a majority shareholding the opposition to the sale will evaporate.

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  26. thor42 (970 comments) says:

    It’s **great** to see that National has a strong following in the under-25s!
    I think that those people will be realists, and they can see that Labour’s tax-and-spend cuddle-the-beneficiaries approach is *not* the way to go.
    Anyway – a very positive thing to have that strong following in the young voters.

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  27. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    Do you think so milky? Damn, let’s get that message out there! :)

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  28. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Good on you Alan, the world needs little men, but please explain how my two shares take away from the Government ownership.

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  29. Alan Johnstone (1,077 comments) says:

    “Anyway – a very positive thing to have that strong following in the young voters.”

    Unless of course you look at turn out figures by age group and realise that under 25s are much less likely to vote than any other group in society.

    Old people on the other hand vote in droves….

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  30. Alan Johnstone (1,077 comments) says:

    “Good on you Alan, the world needs little men, but please explain how my two shares take away from the Government ownership.”

    I’m 6ft 1 and the point of the little man comment has passed me by.

    You’re trying to move the goalposts, you said that selling some shares wasn’t an asset sale.

    You seem to think that the “asset” held by the state is a controlling interest in the company, I pointed out that the “asset” was in fact the shares in the company (and the revenue) that they produce. Therefore it’s an asset sale, by any widely and legally accepted definition of the word.

    Here’s a little test, when pension funds purchase these shares, how will they record them on their balance sheets ? I think you’ll find that they’ll be in a heading marked “assets”.

    So in summary, and making no comment in this post about the correctness of the asset sales, I’m right and you’re wrong and i’ll leave it there.

    Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

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  31. djg (72 comments) says:

    Please correct me if I am wrong but, has Winstone offered to guarantee at least my original capital back should I invest in any of these assets ?
    Sounds like a good back up position to me.

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  32. db.. (79 comments) says:

    If you smoke 3 cigarettes a day LESS, you have then got the $1000 to buy shares.
    And you will feel a whole lot better on 2 counts.

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  33. Pete George (23,289 comments) says:

    Winston Peters on The Nation about buying back assets:

    The market needs to know that Winston Peters and a future government is going to take back those assets, by that I mean pay no greater price than their first offering price, that is if they transfer to seven or eight people it doesn’t matter, we’ll pay the first price or less.

    Neither Labour (Clayon Cosgrove) or Greens (Gareth Hughes) would commit to doing this, as they have no idea what the financial conditions will be when they get into Government.

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  34. Maaik (33 comments) says:

    @thedavincimode 9:03 am

    doggey thingy…

    As usual, the watermelons have zero insight into business.

    If I am a rich prick that has an investment portfolio, buying and selling shares in order to profit from short-term changes in price, then I am liable for tax on the net income calculated (roughly) as the increase in value of my portfolio plus income and dividends. (See, rich pricks already pay capital gains tax!) If my portfolio (which contains other shares as well as state assets) has suffered a loss due to government legislation, that loss reduces my tax burden. Problem is that it also reduces my income…..see, rich pricks always pay a lot more in tax than the great unwashed entitled who want them to pay even more. That is the price we pay for the ability to earn lots of money.

    I would not be surprised if the courts rule that an investor who holds only shares in state assets (and other diversified investments, e.g. property), and had his share profits nullified by legislation, can offset the loss against other profit-making investments he holds. (That is essentially the same action as above, where the total value of the share portfolio was added up, without regard for the share, with profits and losses being netted. In this case, we calculate the loss and net it against other investments.)

    But that does not really have much chance of happening, since Ireland will beat the ABs 60-0 before Winston is finance minister.

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  35. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Alan, you big 6′ 1″ beast you ( as he re-iterates my “the world needs little men” comment.

    I asked how the sale of shares is selling government ownership.

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  36. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    Maaik

    If you are trading and returning unrealised gains then yes, I expect that you would get a deduction if in a subsequent year the shares were compulsorarily acquired at original cost; being less than the value that you included in your prior year income (ie paid tax on). But in such a case, the deduction is only to the extent of unrealised income that you have already returned. The inference from doggey thingy was that the compulsory purchase would somehow produce a windfall tax benefit to rich pricks which is not the case.

    Non-trading investors would get no tax deduction and in fact would not have returned any prior year unrealised gains so there is no tax lurk there either.

    Fear not though. My observation of human behaviour would tend to suggest that people are only likely to decide they are traders if they have unrealised losses and would like a deduction. ;)

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  37. rg (199 comments) says:

    [DPF: Curiablog assumes no seats for ACT because a public poll showed 75% of those who voted for Banks would not vote for him again. If further polls show this to change, the assumption will change]

    What was the question in this poll though and who did it?
    If you believe this poll after all the polling failures in Epsom can you explain why an Epsom voter would not vote for the ACT candidiate if it meant an extra seat for National. That seat being the difference between a Labour and National govt.

    If you ask voters who they will vote for it has to be in context. The fact that polls have failed in Epsom time and time again would show that the context in which the question is asked is wrong. I suggest the context in your 75% poll is wrong.
    I do think it is time the pollster were called to account for their repreated failures and the influence these failures have had. A lot of people did not vote ACT because they feared losing their vote. That fear was instilled into them by the pollsters. That is why I say they are using their influence mischeviously. They need to be held accountable for this as well as be so totally discredited they go out of business.

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  38. dog_eat_dog (760 comments) says:

    ” But in such a case, the deduction is only to the extent of unrealised income that you have already returned. The inference from doggey thingy was that the compulsory purchase would somehow produce a windfall tax benefit to rich pricks which is not the case.”

    If you had an established market price and the government foreclosed on your shares at a price well below that of the listed market price then you can bet your bottom dollar that there would be an application have that difference available as a loss. To rule any other way would be state-sanctioned theft, and not in the hurf-durf way people talk about taxes.

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  39. tvb (4,242 comments) says:

    Only 19% of men will vote for Labour. Once upon a time Labour commanded a majority of male voters. Indeed it was said that if women were disenfranchised there would be a permanent Labour Government. How times have changed.

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  40. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    ‘a lot of New Zealanders having their property confiscated’

    That is in effect ,what National are doing now. Kiwis already own these assets but National are going to take them and sell them

    The real confiscation was of taxpayer dollars via coercive taxation to buy these so called”assets” and to keep propping them up. “Public assets” are state assets…that is assets to those who comprise the state….not to the people forced to fund them. Getting rid of them off of the taxpayers back to those who could run them better in the private market, thereby reducing the need for repressive taxation to happen for their upkeep is the way to go.

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  41. Maaik (33 comments) says:

    I am getting tired of the “I already own those assets that the govt are selling” mantra.

    If you claim that you own those SOEs, then you also own the state debt. Can we send you a bill for your share right now? Your taxes (if you in fact pay any) are not sufficient.

    No doubt some accountant-like person can calculate the exact net debt each Kiwi “owns”.

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  42. RightNow (6,836 comments) says:

    I think those people who already own those assets should be pleased that they’re about to receive market value for their assets. It will help to offset their large debt. I’d be very interested to know how many of them pay above the average towards paying down that debt too. My bet is most of them are net tax beneficiaries.

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  43. Ross12 (1,259 comments) says:

    Pete George @ 9.53 and the davincimode @ 10.30. Thanks for that info. The figure seemed low when I saw it but no one on the NBR made any comment about so I took to mean something.

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