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Letter to Helen Clark

re: Royal Commission Submission
by Robert Keall





Rt. Hon. Helen Clark,
Parliament House
Wellington.
27.3.08

Dear Madam,

Re: The Royal Commission on Auckland Regional Governance

Herewith is your copy of our Submission.

Specifically for your attention, and more important than governance or structure, is the issue of ownership of the infrastructure.

Our concern is that if the Opposition wins the election on whatever specious topical issues they would have a mandate for a New Right privatization agenda, unlimited and unchallenged. To fund their promises in a deteriorating climate they would justify asset sales, which is the cause of social problems not the resolution.

The Government, in Opposition then, would have no credible grounds for resisting it. For the last 8;ndash;9 years the Government has made only belated, ambivalent moves to prevent it, none to reverse it where possible, or to extend Bruce Jesson's example of The Auckland Regional Services Trust, despite vociferous protestation when in Opposition previously4.

An attempt now to pre-empt Opposition policy for PPPs will lose more support than it gains and will compound the problem.

Trading in the airport share price locally or globally introduces no capital, but siphons off the dividends which should be retained. It is a sop to a specious illegitimate argument. No responsible corporate would tolerate its policies being influenced by a selfish minority-interest agenda of dividends now, conflicting with social responsibility e.g. Vector, Auckland Airport. The Government's profile on privatization of infrastructural assets has been more ambivalent or expedient than principled (New Zealand Herald—22.3.08, F.O'S)

As our NZ Superannuation Fund loses on the global meltdown so global investors desperately seek to buy us out here. We even contemplate it! What actually is the agenda? And whose is it? Is The Commission's narrow focus a diversionary ploy?

The core function of government at all levels is

  1. To build and maintain the infrastructure - not to sell it.

  2. To retain, re-invest or return monopoly dividends.

  3. To lease, rent or contract the construction and operation of the asset.

  4. To distinguish clearly between public and private property¹.

  5. To make this clear to the share-market so that "investment", local or off- shore, is in production not in ownership. The investment should be in Local Body Stock, not equity. Tolls or dividends should not add to our Current A/C Deficit.

Yours Sincerely,

 

Robert Keall
Hon. Director/Secretary

Addendum

All progress² and increased productivity is created only by labour. It is nevertheless captured, often anticipated, in the price of land, natural resources and natural monopolies³ i.e. by private ownership of "The Economy". This unproductive, speculative, sacrosanct industry is the cause of inflation and the current meltdown; i.e. speculative trading in rights has not been supported by actual productivity.

Socializing the annual Rent for resources in lieu of taxes eliminates the speculative selling price—and the bust. Pay for what we Hold or Take, not what we Do or Make.


1. The "Corruption of Economics" by Dr Mason Gaffney, Prof. Of Economics, University of California, examines the intentioned confusion of "land" as capital over the last 100 years or so. Consequently some "interest" is really rent. Under a system of Resource Rentals, in Accountancy also, "land" would not be a capital asset. "House" prices should distinguish the land value from the house.

2."Progress" includes – technological invention and education, free trade and competition, tax cuts, savings, which increase disposable income, location, climate, pressure of population and any other trade advantage.

3.Natural monopolies are rights to land, water, airwaves, minerals, fisheries, hydro – power generation and supply, any public utility such as a port, airport, or the monopolistic rights to reticulate wires, pipes, rails, roads, and the like; even the right to pollute.

4. Press Reports, etc., over 10 years.

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