• submissions have been publicly notified as of March 17th;
• they will close at midday on Tuesday April 28th;
• submissions will be heard between May 11-24;
• the Council will meet to adopt the Long Term Plan (which includes the asset sales) by June 30th
• The Mayor has been signalling that in the face of overwhelming opposition she wants to repeat the failed process of privatisation imposed on NZ by her mentor Roger Douglas. In order to achieve this end she and the Government are perpetrating a little disaster or crisis capitalism,
The consultation document can be found here or you can visit your local service centre a demand a copy.
There is a FAQ page here , although don’t accept all the claims here as factual, there has been a fair bit of spin in the whole process.
The dodgy Cameron report with its inflated debt is here, you’ll notice that although 106 million is well identified almost all the other figures for debt are uncertain, and are uncertain because of central government and the insurance multinationals.
The KordaMentha report is here
The council has created a form here for submission and a form for petitions here. It is very important that you give your full name and full address when submitting and for many people giving a submission verbal is to be encouraged and submissions are more effective if they are individual.
Some pointers for submissions
It’s important that you make your own submissions but here are some points you may like to incorporate
1. any proposal for the CCC to divest itself of any significant asset, in whole or in part, be excised unless and until
(a) there has been full public disclosure of all the constituent elements of the Council’s purported indebtedness, and
(b) citizens have had serious opportunity to debate and make representations on those elements.
2. The Cameron Report is written by a group headed by Rob Cameron who is committed to the failed privatisation of the past and was closely linked to the Telecom privatisation
3. Cameron Partners is not an auditing or accounting firm but a firm of investment advisors and this in itself means that it is a vested interest, i.e. not independent
4. Only the first $106 million it identifies is solid accounting
5. This figure exceeds the borrowing covenant with the Local Bodies Funding Authority of 2.5 time Council income only in 2017
6. The other figures are guesses and are being inflated all the time
7. Much of the extra cost of rebuilding are because of the cosy oligopoly of CERA, Fletchers, Downers and the insurance industry
8. This issue could be solved by the Authority recognising that CCC is financing a major rebuild after an earthquake
9. Most families are happy to borrow 5 or 6 times annual income when buying their first home and Councils are better borrowing risks and pay lower interest rates
10. The Cost Sharing Agreement with central Government is unfair and forces the Council into “anchor projects” most Christchurch people would be happy to see postponed or scrapped
11. The assets of the city have kept our rates lower than comparable cities in the country
12. The assets such as City Care and Orion played major roles in the city’s resilience after the earthquakes. “(Orion Chairman Craig) Boyce said city ownership of Orion had allowed the company to do some things that private owners would probably not have done such as earthquake strengthening from the 1990s. ‘This had a huge effect to get the power on quickly’. With regard to debate over city ownership of certain assets, Boyce backs Orion staying city owned. ‘Utilities providing essential services particularly where they are seen as a natural monopoly, I think they should stay with the community” (Press, 12/7/12).
13. The Council is planning to raise rates anyway
14. CERA and CCDU are making decisions which are inflated and which the Council should be making not only meeting the costs of
15. Other cities have large debts and are not forced to sell the family tool box. If Christchurch City Council debt was $1.2 billion it would be unexceptional when compared to others.
We have calculated representative debts on a per person ratio, showing that after multiplying (for Dunedin etc) or dividing (for Auckland):16. Ownership of such an extensive and cohesive (not to mention profitable) portfolio of assets enables the people of ChCh, through the Council, to control the shape and destiny of our city much more so than if they are sold off to disparate, profit-first owners, who have no interest in the big picture or the public interest of the city and its people.
- Auckland debt equivalent to CCC: $1.5 billion
- Tauranga debt equivalent to CCC: $1.2 billion
- Hamilton debt equivalent to CCC: $1.2 billion
- Dunedin debt equivalent to CCC: $1.75 billion
17. Who will buy them? Dollars to doughnuts it will be transnational corporations, so they will be become foreign-owned. Stress the legal definition of a foreign-owned company i.e. anything more than 24.9% foreign ownership. So, selling “just 25%” of Orion, the port, airport, etc, to a transnational will lead to that becoming, legally, a foreign-owned company. We’ve been here before, when Max Bradford’s 1990s’ “power reforms” forced the city to sell Southpower to Canadian TNC TransAlta, which proved to be a disaster (later on-sold to Meridian).
18. Public ownership enables those commercial assets to do things that are for the public good, not just the private profit of shareholders. For example, Orion did a lot of quake strengthening of its facilities from the mid 90s, because it was the prudent thing to do, not because anyone was predicting any catastrophic ChCh quakes in those days. That allowed Orion to get the network up and running again much sooner after the quakes than would otherwise have been the case. No private company would have spent that money, as it could not have been “justified”.
19. It is Cantabrians who are the real owners of the assets are being made to pay for a catastrophic event that was TOTALLY outside their control and one which the whole country ought to be picking up the tab for as we would all expect should this have happened anywhere else.
20. Auckland City Council Website makes a valid point. “It is fair to spread the cost over the generations who will use the assets”. So what is the rush and the panic? The Council is being stampeded into making hasty and irrevocable decisions that will have permanent negative effects on the people of Christchurch.