Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Idiot says idiotic things

Whenever the newsmedia talks about rigthwing Auckland Mayoral candidate John Tamihere, a single headline could always be used because it would always be appropriate: Idiot says idiotic things. That’s been true of his career for more than 14 years. Today he added yet another layer of utter stupidity to his deep well of it: He wants to privatise Auckland’s water supply company, Watercare. What. An. Idiot.

Tamihere is and ex-Labour Party MP and ex-cabinet minister who was forced out of the party under a cloud after, of course, saying idiotic things. Then he was a talkback radio host where he said more idiotic things. Now he’s currently performing the role of rightwing populist and, of course, saying idiotic things—and he deserves this rant.

His latest proposal is beyond idiotic, as all rational people know, but he’s just playing a cynical game, pandering to his base and the grumpy brigade who hate Auckland Council and/or how much they pay rates (similar to US property taxes). The Righwing, his base, absolutely loves the idea of transferring public assets like water to private hands so they can make enormous profits by using their monopoly to exploit people for shareholders’ enrichment. The rightwing political establishment is loaded with those who are loaded, and many of them would be getting a piece of the action if Watercare was sold, so their advocacy for privatisation is mostly motivated by greed.

There’s another faction that may support him, one made up of what I often call the Grumpy Brigade. They are people who seem to enjoy being grumpy, unable to see anything good about Auckland Council, and always imagining that things are worse now than they were before Auckland Council came into being in 2010. Whether their feelings are completely wrong, completely justified, or somewhere in between is beside they point, though, because what they seek is to drastically cut how much Council spends (except in there area, of course!!), and/or they want to shrink Council somehow. To such people, selling off Watercare would be be a way to stick it to the Council as much as anything else.

We know that Tamihere is merely playing games on this issue because it would be impossible to sell Watercare as long as Labour controls central government, and for a very simple reason: It would take new legislation to make it possible, and neither Labour nor the Greens would ever support that, and New Zealand First probably wouldn’t, either (they’re more like old-school populists, before the term became associated nearly exclusively with the far-right).

Under current legislation, ownership of Watercare is vested in Auckland Council. It is forbidden to return a dividend and must operate at the lowest cost. In other words, it supplies an essential public service and charges no more than it needs to in order to recover actual costs.

If Watercare was sold off, profits would then become the sole priority of the new private entity, because profits are the sole reason that companies exist, after all. That would mean soaring rates for all residential consumers—but, one would expect, not for businesses, who could even see rates lowered, subsidised by families in Auckland paying ever more.

How much more? Auckland’s current Mayor, Phil Goff, who is running for re-election, told Stuff, "I'd have to do the calculations, but it could be a 30, 40 or 50 per cent increase in water rates." That’s because, he said, that any company buying half of Watercare would want a return of around 7.5 per cent. That’s a completely different situation to the current one, in which Watercare pays no dividend and re-invests all monies back into the service rather than sending profits to shareholders, many or most of whom would probably be overseas.

Tamihere probably knows all that, one must assume. The best guess is that he’s saying it to get attention for himself, and talk of selling of publicly owned assets, like Watercare or the Ports of Auckland, are a sure-fire hit with both his base and the Grumpy Brigade—even though it’s impossible for him to deliver on.

But, he’s apparently not done making promises he can’t keep. When asked if he planned to sell off any more of assets owned by the people of Auckland, he answered, he didn’t "at this particular point in time." Yeah, right.

Aside from his cynical political games, one of the thing that’s most annoying about Tamihere is how much he lies. In the debate he said that there was interest from the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) who, he claimed, wanted 50 per cent, adding, "Phil [Goff] knows it, the public needs to know it." The person who would, in fact, know is Mayor Goff who said he knew of no such bid. Odds are it exists only someone’s fevered imagination. It’s possible that one of his political advisers, or perhaps a National Party adviser, made it up for him. Who knows?

There was absolutely no way, no how that’d vote for Tamihere for anything; I lost respect for him back when he was being driven out fo the Labour Party, and his sexism and homophobia sealed the deal.

Most of the time I ignore him. He’s running a vanity campaign backed by the National Party, though not “officially” at the moment, and pandering to some of the worst elements in Auckland. The only thing outsiders need to know about him is simple: Idiot says idiotic things. That describes him every single day.


rogerogreen said...

Ask Arthur Anything question: Do you yell at the TV when you see a story of a politician who say stupid and/or evil and/or false things. I didn't before 2017.

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

I couldn't possibly comment, but the dogs might be able to…