Simon Bridges goes Venezuelan

Shoppers line up to buy groceries in Venezuela

Shoppers line up to buy groceries in Venezuela

Energy Minister Simon Bridges says big petrol retailers are “on notice” after they maintained large profit margins while the price of oil was falling sharply late last year.

Simon says the retailers were making profits of of up to 55c per litre, compared to the average profit margin of 42c per litre over 2013.

I would doubt very much that this was true, and Simon Bridges as a government Minister should himself know better than to repeat such nonsense. Z Energy chief Mike Bennetts said once all costs were taken into account, his company’s net profits in the last financial year were 4.2c per litre. This is much more realistic.

However the point is this. Voters are not forced to buy over-priced petrol. There are a lot of remedies to high fuel prices, including the most obvious one of seeking out retailers who sell it cheaper. Or even asking that Simon Bridges stop taking almost 50% of the price in taxes.

But no, Simon (and John Key) have to send out the big government message “We’re looking out for you folks, you just sit on your lazy arses and whinge and gummint will fix it for you.”

Gull general manager David Bodger applauded Mr Bridges’ letter: “A lot of our opposition are charging, on average, 10c a litre more in areas where we’re not [located].”

And I am sure David Bodger didn’t want to portray himself as a crony capitalist but that is what he has done.

People only need to check out Venezuela where you can’t even buy toilet paper for an example of outcomes if you continue to rely upon government “fixing” things.

Once again, I’d say John Key demanded this outburst from Simon in a response to the govt’s constant polling, wherein they discovered public discontent with fuel prices. Really what Key should be doing is getting out there with a message that supports capitalism, but he’s too much of a socialist to be capable of that kind of solution.