Friday, October 25, 2019

THE MATING DANCE OF THE RIO TINTO BEGINS AGAIN

The Rio Tinto mating season is upon us with the company making the early (ritual) move suggesting that the shutting down of the plant cannot be discounted.   Were this to happen it would have a devistating effect on the Southland economy with the loss of close to 1,000 high paying jobs and a knock-on effect to suppliers of goods and services to the company.

It's a high stakes game and, unlike 2013 when the then National led government agreed to a bail-out,  the goalposts have shifted.     First and perhaps most importantly Labour doesn't have any stake in Southland.   Both seats are held by National so letting the company go to the wall doesn't come with any great political price. Sure Labour's Te Tai Tonga (Maori) seat includes Southland but their constituents don't count in the great scheme of things.   They'll continue to vote Labour like the typical battered wife returning home in the forlorn hope hubby will change his ways for the better.

Secondly and world aluminium prices remain depressed in the short term at least with the problem compounded by the introduction of punitive tariffs on our exports of aluminium to the United States after the fairy princess opened her gob and slagged off President Trump.    His response was a dish of Shane Jones' utu served cold.    Despite pleas by Jacinda and the pin-striped dwarf the sanctions remain extanct.

Twill be interesting to see the stance of NZ First on this.    Corporate welfare for horses can easily morph into corporate welfare for Rio Tinto and that will put Labour into a bind as the PM has been quick (maybe too quick) to rule out any further assistance to the company ... although maybe that could change with saving the planet and all of that.    The aluminium produced at Tewait Point is 'clean and green' compared with the 'dirty' product produced by China.    Watch this space.


16 comments:

Max Ritchie said...

22,000 party votes and of course it's not so long ago that Invercargill was a Labour seat - JB Munro. The pragmatic solution would be a subsidy - loss of all those jobs not a good look and it'd gut the Southland economy. The thought of paying an Aussie company a real dead rat however.

Noel said...

Early days. Review not due back until the end of March 2020. If the option is to close "Rio Tinto is required to provide its power supplier, Meridian Energy, a 12-month notice regarding any reduction in, or full termination of, the smelter's electricity supply contract".

If it has to close then the Milt and the Greens will be happy.
"The market will adjust if the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter closes. With reduced baseload
demand, existing baseload thermal plants will be utilised less. This will lower average prices, which may make older fossil fuel plants uneconomic, forcing their retirement." MBIE

The Veteran said...

Hi Max ... always good to hear from the older and bolder. Yep, JB Munro held the seat for a brief period in the 1980's. However tHe last Labour Party MP was the odious Mark Peck who held the seat from 1993 to 2005. When he left Parliament he became a Wgtn City Councillor (funny that) where he was remembered for voting for the living wage so called for Council staff while refusing same for his coffee shop staff on the basis that if he did the business would go bust ... some might say double standards but I couldn't possibly comment.

Roj Blake said...

It's a regular thing. Every few years, the capitalists go cap in hand to the government with some great big sob story, and how, without another bucket load of other people's money, well, they just might shut shop.

Alcoa is doing the same, threatening the Victorian government with closure and loss of jobs unless the flow of other people's money is maintained. The last report I saw showed Victorians have already subsidised Alcoa to the tune of $100 million.

So much for the free market, the strong survive, the weak to the wall. How much longer will the people be forced to pay for Capitalism's failings. Surely it is time to smooth the pillow for this dying economic model.

Tom Hunter said...

So much for the free market,

The funny thing about this example is that the "free market" did not set it up. The governmetn did, way back in the 1950's when both National and Labour were super keen on the idea of government working hand-in-hand with Big Business to establish industry in NZ, especially in the regions where it would create jobs and 'spread the wealth around', at least among wage and salary earners.

The private sector companies didn't twist the government's arm to get into this, they were invited to submit proposals on a government idea, which was always to plant an aluminium smelter in Southland, fed by electricity from a government built and owned power station.

And now, decades later, much to everyone's horror, 21st century goverments find themselves being blackmailed by the monster they created, as it makes the obvious point that a lot of well-paid jobs will go down the tube with the closure of the smelter - the types of jobs that Labour/National wanted to create in such places in the first instance.

The genius of government vs the private sector. And the best bit is that when it all turns to custard years or decades later, the promotors of Big Government can claim it's all the fault of Big Business.

Roj Blake said...

The funny thing about this example is that the "free market" did not set it up. The governmetn did, way back in the 1950's ...

Gee, even for the 50's they were slow off the mark. Tiwai didn't open until 1971.

The private sector companies didn't twist the government's arm to get into this, they were invited to submit proposals on a government idea, which was always to plant an aluminium smelter in Southland, fed by electricity from a government built and owned power station.

Seems even in Italia you can't get off the KoolAid. There were no private sector companies "invited by the government to submit proposals". Conzinc made an offer to build both a power station and smelter, no other companies were involved. Since NZ has no bauxite just why would any NZ government contemplate s smelter?

The whole process was driven by Capitalists, although the government had to step in and build the power plant, even that didn't occur until the mid '60s.

Lord, Lord, how this world is given to lying!



Tom Hunter said...

Gee, even for the 50's they were slow off the mark. Tiwai didn't open until 1971.
Of course. Lots of planning before the first contract was signed in 1960, and then more buggering around to get the power station and smelter built. Of course such an effort would push to the late 60's/early 70's. Don't you know anything about large infrastructure efforts.

Here ya go, from https://teara.govt.nz/en/pulp-and-paper-aluminium-and-steel-industries/page-3

After the Second World War the government’s strong interest in diversifying New Zealand’s economy made an aluminium industry attractive. However, without a reliable source of cheap and abundant electricity, a smelter would not be built. In 1960 the government agreed that Australian firm Consolidated Zinc (ConZinc) could build an aluminium smelter, and develop and use the hydroelectric capacity of Lakes Manapōuri and Te Anau, in Fiordland.

Government, government, government all the way.

Roj Blake said...

No, you are yet to show, as you claimed, "The private sector companies didn't twist the government's arm to get into this, they were invited to submit proposals on a government idea,".

The government may have found the idea of a smelter attractive, but that was only after Conzinc made the offer. Unless you can show that the NZ Government invited Conzinc, I call out your lie.

From Wikipedia - "Five months later, Consolidated Zinc Proprietary Limited (later known as Comalco) formally approached the New Zealand government about acquiring a large amount of electricity for aluminium smelting.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manapouri_Power_Station#Political_history

The bit in bold is in direct contradiction or your lie.

Stick to writing about your Chicago beat cop Dad - your lies about him are harder for us to disprove, thou babbling tickle-brained botch!

Capitalism, capitalism, capitalism all the fucking way.

Tom Hunter said...

You're almost as unhinged an individual as your Far Left stablemate, Judge Holden.

Nothing of what I wrote is controversial. The concept of developing national industries was a bi-partisan goal of National and Labour for decades, of which Think Big was the last gasp. You can read the autobiographies of Nash, Holyoake and Muldoon to see the arguments behind this.

Second Labour Government of NZ:
Industrialisation was pursued both as a means of import substitution and to develop a more mature economy. For instance, agreements were signed with overseas companies to construct an aluminium industry using cheap power from new hydroelectric projects at Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri, and a cotton mill in Nelson, which required the construction of a railway line to connect Nelson with the main South Island line; see Nelson railway proposals. Signed a formal agreement for Consolidated Zinc to build both an aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point and a power station in Manapouri.

https://nzhistory.govt.nz/people/walter-nash
His brief prime ministership was memorable mainly for its frequent overseas travel, the 1958 ‘Black Budget’ and for an industrialisation programme that included the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. He was replaced as party leader in 1963 and knighted two years later.

Of course Camalco would have, at some stage, to have formally made an offer, but you must be extremely ignorant of business if you think that's where the process started. There would have been the usual RFI and RFP (as they're called nowadays) and those would have been issued by the government of the day. To label my statement about all this as lies is just a hysterical temper tantrum on your part. You need to get a grip on your emotions when having a debate.

And of course there was a long history of gaining the interest of foreign corporations, as outlined in this thesis, The power game : the development of the Manapouri-Tiwai Point electro-industrial complex, 1904-1969:

By actively marketing Manapouri's hydro-electrical potential, entrepreneurs in the 1920s and 1930s, and government officials in the 1950s and 1960s, first interested and then involved Australian, British, American and Japanese members of the international aluminium cartel in the establishment of a New Zealand aluminium industry.

Those NZ governments were not naifs; they wanted to industrialise NZ (used to be big Lefty idea before the 1970's), they knew they had cheap electricity as a lure, and aluminium was one of their long-held targets.

Again, there is nothing controversial about this history or this combined state-corporate approach - at least outside the echo chamber of Far Lefters like you who are constantly banging the drum about the evils of capitalism and the goodness of the state.

As it happens I'm equally opposed to such things, but from a small-government perspective. However, my opposition to such things, and their hangover subsidies years later, does not lead me to kid myself about the state-corporate dances involved or to indulge in the strange moral war of good vs. evil that you bring to every debate.

Anne Tiffa said...

Roj, you're wasting your time with Wee Tommy Bhoy. He is as slippery as a snake in a bucket of snot.

He claims to be in favour of "small government", and yet worships at the altar of a government that continually inserts itself into people's private lives. He is an acolyte of the GOP, the party that insists on policing who people fuck, how and when women can obtain healthcare, mandating loyalty oaths, inserting Christianity into every aspect of public life, and enriching themselves by raiding the Treasury.

Where would we be without Government investment? A far poorer place.

All of the following are because of government investment, not lecherous corporates.

Jet propulsion
Space flight
Radar
Black box flight recorders
WiFi
The Internet
Microwave ovens
Aerogard and the good weekend
RAFT polymerisation
Softly wool washing liquid
GPS
baby Formula
Barcodes
Microchips
Touch screens
Inumerable vaccines
Inflatable aircraft escape slides
Synroc
Gene shears
Polymer banknotes
HPV Vaccine
Quantum bit and quantum logic gates
Postal service
Xerography aka photocopying
Shrink proofing and permanent creasing in clothing
Bionic ear
Medical ultrasound
Over the horizon radar
Supercapacitors

There is so much more, but I don't want our poor Tommy having conniptions or a heart attack while he is on the job.

Tom Hunter said...

Nothing funnier than a political activist utterly ignorant of science and technology, telling engineers and scientists that it's all down to the government investment. Still, for a Chomsky worshipper it's standard belief.

Of course if it were true then the USSR and every communist nation would have long ago beaten the pants off the West with greater quantities of consumer goods of better quality. They had plenty of smart engineers and scentists working for the state inventing things.

The reason they failed was that they lacked market places and property rights.

And as far as controlling people's lives are concerned, it's quite true that the Left have fought against government controlling our sex and drug lives and that much of the Right have been on the other side of that fight - although even that's a simplification when you consider the number of pro-abortion Republicans, let alone Tories in Britain and Right-wingers in other Western nations.

But an Antifa thug does not care for nuance or complexity.

The flipside is that the Left have used effort since the 1960's as a smokescreen for their aim of having the state control all other aspects of your lives outside of your bedroom. They've been very successful in that propaganda effort, but if they hold to their most fanatical beliefs they won't be able to hide their controlling desires for much longer.

Anne Tiffa said...

You're an hilarious apologist wee Tommy Bhoy.

Thing is though, I have the facts on my side. All you have is bluster.

Can you disprove my claim about any of the above inventions being due to Government funding, and actually invented by rapacious capitalists.

Of course, you can't, but I expect another 500 or 5000 words about Russia bad America good while you tiotally ignore the point.

Tom Hunter said...

"wee Tommy"

Don't you ever get tired of your multiple personalities? Why bother? Your arguments are just as stupid when they're issued by "Judge Holden" or "David" of South Australia/"Steppen Wolf"/....

You were unable to take Roj Blakes side of the argument and win so you've shifted the goalposts on to this cut-and-paste list nonsense, which I've seen hundreds of times before from Chomskyites and which would take far more than 5000 words to refute, which is your intention of course. Standard tatic: attack rather than defend.

Still. it's good to know that you fully supported the idea of the state creating and building things like an aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point, rather than just the Manapouri power station. You'd fit right in with those past Labour and National governments.

Of course it would still leave you with the problem of what to do with a state-owned and run aluminium smelter now? Close it down and risk the wrath of the workers? Continue but with hidden subsidies characteristic of all such state regimes? Either way you'd have the same problem but without being able to blame Evil Corporates. (Dunn, Dunn, Dahhhhh.....)

Oh - and the communist failure extended to more than just the USSR: they were but one example. Presumably you love the modern Chinese Communist model - although that would go against your "deeply held" anarchist principles of how to run a society.

Anne Tiffa said...

Not my job to defend Roj, I am sure he is more than capable of doing that himself.

I've seen hundreds of times before from Chomskyites and which would take far more than 5000 words to refute,

Only to someone like you who thinks that volume counts as an argument. You could refute each of those with just a few words, by naming the Corporation responsible. But you won't, because you can't. Still, nice to see you blame Chomsky this time, instead of your usual bogeyman Soros. Hope for you yet.

Oh - and the communist failure extended to more than just the USSR:

Usual right-wing tactic - whenever losing simply point and shout COMMUNIST. It doesn't work, but then, the Right never learn. Not sure how my pointing out the benevolence of government investment in R&D makes me a communist, so I guess I'll just get on with my life.

I note elsewhere that you claim your father was a POW in Italy. In that case, you should also know that it was a Command Economy that led to the undoing of Nazism in Europe and Japan's Greater Co-prosperity Sphere in Asia, whilst it was the Rapaciopus Capitalist class that empowered and enabled Hitler and Hirohito.








Tom Hunter said...

I am sure he is more than capable of doing that himself.
Less than capable you mean. Good at shouting slogans though.

Only to someone like you who thinks that volume counts as an argument.
Says the man who just unloaded a cut and paste list as an "argument".

You could refute each of those with just a few words,
Oh I'm sure you'd love nothing more than for me to waste minutes arguing against a list that took 30 seconds for you to cut-and-paste. A better approach would be for you to take just one of those, make your argument about how its existence is all down to the wonderful State and that's it only about R&D. Like I said, if that's all that mattered then the Command Economies would rule the world.

whenever losing simply point and shout COMMUNIST
Well anarchists like you often use other tags in an effort to escape your history of fail: Libertarian Socialism, Anarcho-socialism, Anarcho-syndicalism,... "Pure" Communism, which is not like that nasty stuff that comes with.... the State Command Economy approach you so worship.

In that case, you should also know that it was a Command Economy that led to the undoing of Nazism in Europe and Japan's Greater Co-prosperity Sphere in Asia,
And there it is again! Plus the usual ahistorical assertion. You can make a good argument that the defeat of the Nazi's is largely down to the USSR, but Japan? The USSR didn't even declare war on them until August 8. Unless you're arguing that the USA converted itself into a command economy?

But let us avoid all your diversions and focus back on an Antifa member fully supportive of the sort of State Command Economies. Still hoping the state will whither away in that case, before you and yours get a bullet in the back of the neck?

Tell me about a failure to learn from mistakes again, Antifa-Boi.

In fact - and keeping with what this thread is supposed to be about - tell me again about the wonders of a NZ State Command Economy that built, own and operated an Aluminium smelter in Tiwai point and how different that would make all these subsequent decisions. Sure, it's a hypothetical but given the blame you and Roj are heaping on the evil Aluminium Corporate involved here, it seems worthy of exploration and debate. What would the government do in this case?

Methodic Doubt said...

Has Chunter's Roman Holiday come to an end? Seems to have too much time on his hands and is back to cooking up conspiracies everywhere.

"Don't you ever get tired of your multiple personalities? Why bother? Your arguments are just as stupid when they're issued by "Judge Holden" or "David" of South Australia/"Steppen Wolf"/...."

Judge Holden is a rare sight, but has been around these parts for a long, long time.

David is dead - Paul Scott told us so.

Steppen Wolf is half human, half wolf; a bit like Tom Hunter, half human, half troll.