No mandate for asset sales | The Jackal

25 Jun 2012

No mandate for asset sales

On Saturday, the NZ Herald reported:

Business sometimes prefers an asset sale to future profits because the money has more value to it now or because it wants a different balance of investments. John Key has favoured this explanation. He has gone as far as to promise that all proceeds of the power company floats will be invested in items of social value such as hospitals and schools. The Budget last month set up an account for that purpose.

At first National claimed that the proceeds would go towards paying of government debt, which has increased dramatically under National. They've also claimed that the money will go towards the Future Investment Fund, which will provide farmers with $400 million worth of free irrigation... And now they're claiming that the money will be used to build new schools.

As any fool knows, you can't spend money twice or thrice as the case may be.

But what is really stupid is that according to Revenue Minister Peter Dunne who holds the single vote that will likely pass the Mixed Ownership Model Bill, a clampdown on tax avoidance and loopholes will bridge the gap left by the Government's planned sell-down of its energy company holdings, which just goes to show that there's no economic basis to sell. In fact it will make New Zealands financial situation worse.

Unfortunately much of the MSM including the NZ Herald has in the main been running biased pro-asset sales articles in favour of Nationals self-interested economic bungling.

The real question comes down to whether John Keys government has a mandate to sell our profitable assets, and this is where the NZ Herald displays some of the worst ideological claptrap I've read on the matter.

On Thursday, the print Editor Tim Murphy wrote:

In this case, of course, the country has had a referendum on the subject - at the last election. Opposition parties did even more than the Government to make the election a referendum on asset sales. Labour and the Greens put opposition to the sales uppermost in their campaigns. It was the main thrust of their advertising and they lost no opportunity to bring the issue into election debate.

Thanks to them, National now has an undeniable mandate. The Greens are wasting their time, as well as our money, trying to put the issue to a second test. Their effort can only undermine the system of citizens' initiative yet again by forcing another poll that the Government would safely ignore.

The last election was held on a number of issues, and only the referendum will determine whether the government has a mandate to progress further. I also disagree that MOM privatisation had anywhere near enough debate prior to the last election, being that most of the media was focussed on the teapot tapes.

The fact that National is uninterested in waiting for the referendum result and that many right-wing commentators have said the petition to get a referendum will just be ignored shows that National are not interested in whether they have a mandate or not. Their mentality amounts to; "You lost, and we will do what we want."

If National is not willing to wait a few months for the result of a referendum, they will damage their party. This is because a number of scientific polls have shown the vast majority of New Zealanders and even a majority of National supporters don't want asset sales.

Pity the rightwing doesn't listen to reason.