Fighting to keep Vector in public hands



The first elected position I ever stood for was as a member of a team seeking to win the five trustee positions on the Auckland Energy Community Trust (AECT).  The AECT is the trust that owns 75.1% of Vector Energy shares on behalf of the people of Auckland.  At the time, however, it still owned 100% of the shares.

The team’s main aim was to prevent the right-wing block, led by former National Party President John Collinge, from selling 24.9% of the shares in Vector.  In the end Collinge’s mob gained a majority of seats on the AECT and proceeded to sell shares.  Once the sale was completed, Collinge, as the Trust’s chairperson, promised this would be the last shares the Trust ever sold.

Personally, I could never understand why anyone would want to sell off a portion of an exceptionally well-run virtual monopoly that paid a very healthy dividend to the people of Auckland.

Move forward to 2014, and John Collinge is at it once again.  Collinge, backed by another former National party president Michelle Boag, and helped by Auckland EMA CEO Kim Campbell, is trying to gather support for a scheme that would steal the shares off the people of Auckland for good.

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Their miserable plan, as I have been led to believe, involves pressuring the National government to introduce legislation that would allow the shares, worth around $2.1b, to be nationalised, and then gifted back to the Auckland City Council for them to sell – to the people of Auckland and overseas buyers.

Let’s put this into perspective.  This year the AECT returned a $335 dividend to all shareholders (75.1% of whom are the people of Auckland). This is a most welcome bonus to many who are currently struggling with the extremely high costs of living in Auckland.

Vector is an incredibly progressive and innovative company and so this dividend is only going to grow.  Why sell it?  This is about ideology – and a massive disconnect by some wealthy individuals who simply have absolutely no idea at all how important $335 is to a huge number of Auckland families.

I think we have highlighted this potential issue in time so that Collinge, Boag, Campbell and co just look misery and miserable, but the fact that National Energy Minister Simon Bridges refused to comment on the matter suggests that it might have had some legs if the nasties had been a little smarter in their strategic execution; the fact that the right has handled this so ineptly is a blessing for all Aucklanders, but expect this type of behaviour to continue as the Nats seek to get their hands on high performing, publicly owned assets.

Keeping Vector in the hands of good hardworking Aucklanders is very definitely something worth fighting for.  I will keep you updated if I hear anything more.



  1. It is somewhat misleading Stuart to continually talk about the benefits to the people of Auckland when they actually only accrue to a sub-group of people within Auckland (as the amalgamated city). A subtle but important difference to your argument.

  2. If LPG , which the cost of has sky rocketed , is a national resource then shouldn’t it still be … ya know . A ‘ national ‘ resource . Not an Auckland plaything ? And now the jackals are squabbling over it’s plump carcass . Like we didn’t see that coming . We South Islanders can show you flooded farm lands and orchards to supply electricity to your air-con units but that was cool when we could run our cars on cheap LPG via an un-holy alliance between the Todd group and the ‘ government ‘ . Then Shell got their hands on it . What happened there ???
    Vector might be ‘ an exceptionally well-run virtual monopoly that paid a very healthy dividend to the people of Auckland. ‘ to you . I see it as a swindle wrapped up in bull shit . Call me old fashioned if you must .

  3. Perhaps the only ideology at work here is greed. They obviously see a good return on capital now and in the future and want it for themselves. Considerations regarding the importance of rebates to hard working Aucklanders have not even entered their greedy heads. Keep fighting them Stuart or the concentration of wealth will continue and the levels of inequality will grow.

  4. Yes , ..and we could go one step further and add that the recipients of the wealth of those shares , – had they been sold – would have ended up by and large by what is effectively ‘ insider trading ‘… it was untold times during the 1980’s and 1990’s.

    And is still happening today with this govt.

    It is drawing a long bow to suggest that these neo liberal thug troughers do not inform their criminal investor comrades overseas about another plum ripe for the picking.

    This then , is of course followed up in all manner of investments none of which is traceable to the original sell off.

    This is how these traitorous neo liberal pig troughers capitalise on the public purse whilst ‘ innocently ‘ suggesting it is bettter to sell off shares……knowing full well that :

    A) The first step is always to say it will never happen again. This is called ‘ Graduation ‘ .

    Then B) After a sufficient period of time has elapsed , and public dissent has dwindled , seek to lobby fellow neo liberal pig trougher politicans to disguise the REAL MOTIVE by dressing it up as a legitimate sale that is ‘ better ‘ for New Zealanders.

    But as outlined above …funds come back to these neo liberal trougher pigs through dividends / shares /investments from their offshore criminal colleagues .

    This is why these neo liberal trougher thugs are so keen on getting thier hands on the publics assets. They will never loose any share of the profits in doing so.

    What we have left when viewed in full glare of the midday sun is bald faced , legalised theft. And the methodology used is guile , half truths, misleading of the true facts and misinformation.

    • Of course it should be national headlines, but don’t hold your breath for our MSM to inform NZ’ers – they are part of the troughers.

  5. Thanks for the update on the gNats dastardly plans to sell off yet more of our public owned assets.
    Some of us would be interested to hear if there has been any further developments regarding your below post.
    “Lou, I am not in the office today, but please call Rob or Pauline in my office on 06 8356093, or drop in to 155a Tennyson Street, and they will see what can be done to sort this dreadful situation out. I am aware there are a number of empty state houses (mostly in Maraenui) that I am sure we can get you into. Regards Stuart” – See more at:

  6. This one has slipped under the very high media radar like most things. However given the personalities you mention I doubt there is any pressure on National, rather just one of their many “people” in the field is doing the bidding for them, whilst they maintain plausible deniability at arm’s length.

    And think about it, if you are an insider in this scheme then there is an awful lot of money to be made for you and a select few from this sell off.

    Like in the halcyon days of the 80’s when state assets were dumped in fire sales, a number of well connected individuals became seriously rich from it, whilst Kiwi’s picked up the tab. Personal greed and gain sounds like what it’s all about.

  7. What about your old mate Lianne selling off the assets of the people of Christchurch? The Labour party have been strangely silent on this issue.

    • And this government has underfunded their share of the rebuild forcing CCC to consider selling assets and even then Brownlee thinks they are being too conservative.

      Nice sleight of hand National, one way or the other you force your ideology upon people.

  8. I would suggest that $2bn could be put to better use than having it dribbling out $335 to all and sundry with a very large proportion of recipients hardly being in need. I imagine the three plotters get the dividend; hardly examples of dire poverty.

    For instance how does this dividend benefit the homeless of Auckland or those living in substandard accommodation where the landlord gets the benefit?

    The problem is that those proposing the change and the likely recipients; ie Auckland council are as trustworthy as a bunch of rattlesnakes and the money would be frittered away on the personal aggrandisement of Len and his cohorts.

    The money should be used for the betterment of all Aucklanders. A starting point would be to use the money to pay off debt and perhaps decrease the appalling rates burden. God forbid, it could even be used to build homes for those in Auckland who have no hope of finding anywhere affordable to love. However I am sure that is furthest from the thoughts of Boag, Collinge and Campbell who only see a nice fat profit for them if they get their way.

  9. If you ever get in again Stuart, you need to ring fence assets and criminalise improper disposals of them.

    • Good call, Stuart. There must be ways of locking-in public ownership of state and community owned assets.

      Whoever can come up with such a system would be New Zealander of the Year!

  10. Well considering a temporary govt is only just that in this country, – 3 terms at most….the argument can be made that these govts do not have any mandate whatsoever to even THINK of selling a brass razoo if there is no public referenda on any suggested sale.

    To do so would be a criminal offense without the publics consent via that referendum .

    And how to we make the referendum into NZ law?….by a public referendum , of course.. A Binding Citizens Referenda . BCA

    That consent not merely being assumed just because a govt was voted in in any one election . That would not constitute any legitimate mandate all . Such as John xKEYscore tried to sell that idea to the public.

    But then again , he is a scurilous little ork to begin with so he would say something like that. These unsavoury characters cannot be trusted with such important issues as our land , our assets, the shares we hold in our own industries.

    Therefore it is only THE PEOPLE THEMSELVES who have that capacity to bestow any mandate.

    THEM and them only.

    Not some creepy little lizard trougher politician with a deceptive hidden agenda . Such as those cannot be trusted AT ALL.

  11. Stuart & Maama,

    You are both a gem,

    Yes the MSM is overseas owned like this country is quickly becoming if Stuart and others don’t get traction on this unbridled carpet bagging by foreign money of our essential services.

    Some say it is good for us to allow all the foreigners to buy our assets, but we will then be tenants in our own land!

    Remember Lying Jonkey saying he did not want to see us as “tenants in our own land when the 16 Crafer farms foreign sale debarkle came into focus in 2011 to Shanghai Pengxin. another Chinese Government acquisition?

    “Green party said Key had shown he “instinctively understood” how most people felt when he said he didn’t want New Zealanders as “tenants in their own land”.
    We are having our country sold out under our noses while MSM keeps quiet about it and obviously has their heads also in the trough.

    Time for all cross party opposition support to take National to court to demand half of our remaining TVNZ/RNZ asset be handed over to all opposition for using these issues to parade in front of the country well before we are totally sold out forever.

    Can you arrange this with you opposition college’s Stuart please?

    Well three years is to much of a long time for a cheap low life like Key the currency trader, to be expected to remember what he said then, because after all Key cant even remember that he had talked with Cameron Slater just 24hrs before did he?

    “NZ Free Press Ass’n” would be a good handle for the opposition TV/Radio network.

  12. Too right, wild katipo. They NEVER had a mandate to sell what belonged to ALL New Zealanders. Absolute treason!

  13. lets be clear on one important point power nz consumers took capital repayment at the time mercury energy was formed into aect as holder of shares on behalf of its consumers who taken dividend payment not capital repayment we kept our assets so to say it small sub group is wrong and ignores the facts that north shore and waitamata consumers took capital repayment sold there assets SO HANDS OFF OURS!

    • True. Simon Bridges is one of those people who you just look at and want to punch in the face. And then he starts talking and you want to punch him in the gonads.

    • Hehehehe….I knew the guy when in my twenties. I cannot believe the things I hear him say now – particularly when I remember his upbringing and West Auckland origins.

      But then again , in light of one certain WINZ beneficiary who used the public purse to gain a diploma , – then went on to become ‘ minister ‘ in charge of Welfare and used her position to become a neo liberal trougher pig and crucify other working poor and unemployed people ……

      Well , …..lets just say nothing surprises me now at all.

      And because I knew the guy….makes it very hard not to burst out laughing at his silly outbursts every time I see him on TV. 🙂

  14. Mr Nash is absolutely correct given its performance there is no reason for the sale of Vector that would be in the interests of the Auckland consumers.
    There are two primary reasons for this drive the first being ideology. Both the extreme left, I.e. Communists, and the extreme right,I.e.neoliberals, loathe successful cooperatives as they undermine their theories and challenge power and control.
    Secondly follow the money whether directly, e.g. Investment Bankers, Brokers or indirectly, e.g. proponents, investors, there are large profits to be had.
    While there was rationale behind some of the past privatisations, in particular where they were loss makers, very few have been disposed of at a fair price to the NZ public. Indeed most have been the troughs from which the fattest so called wealth creators in NZ, e.g. Fay, Richwhite, Hart to mention a few of the fortunes made, have gouged themselves.

  15. The yearly AECT dividend is a bigger event than Xmas for me. Lots of anticipation and it really changes my life for a bit. I would ‘literally’, fight to keep it coming every year.

  16. There are very good arguments for keeping such companies in NZ hands for the benefit of New Zealanders.Similarly, there are very good arguments to support unions, victims and so on. Unfortunately, any comment I have put on this site recently that is not 110% to the left seems to have not got past the moderator. Is this blog actually doing a disservice to itself?

    • You said some good things here , no doubt ,….but the Left is a broad spectrum of people ,- I’m not hard Left yet I happily voted for Internet Mana .


      Because by today’s standards , even Rob Muldoons National would have had more in common with IMP , Greens , and NZFirst than the neo liberal troughers we have currently , – in both National and Labour.

      THAT is how far we have moved to the far right and basically have degenerated. Yes……


  17. Why isn’t he outside Lianne Dalziels office with his save our assets banner? It’s OK for Labourites to sell assets.

    • Don’t worry , my old son, – when your a neo liberal trougher it doesn’t matter what shade or hue you come from ,what party you belong to or what lie you tell the public , – your still a trougher .

      And any trougher gets a rough ride with those will name and shame them , National OR Labour .

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