I can’t remember which of the media clowns/National flagbearers, described the election outcome as an overwhelming victory for National. Probably TVNZ amongst others. The fact is it was a cliffhanger. Even the mandate to govern will be small. Assuming Maori party comes to some arrangement. A mandate to sell assets it was not. Voters preferences aren’t registered in ballot boxes. A poll showed 60% of National voters were opposed!
There were other problems. ‘Commercial sensitivities’ meant we couldn’t have some information. (Does this raise the question of whether the company prospectuses will make full disclosure or will we face big court costs if they don’t).
Plus the chameleon nature of the reasons for selling. The first I recall was the most bizarre and it is still around. The ailing needed sharemarket needed bailing out (?subsidising) apparently. My words. That sounded like a world first. And in case you think my memory is playing tricks here’s a bit from The DomPost’s (2 December 2011) business pages. ‘The Capital Markets Development Taskforce …identified the need for more blue chip investments as critical to improving the national savings culture, and creating alternatives to housing and finance companies as venues for Kiwis nest eggs.”
Wasn’t Rogernomics, latter day management and its and mindboggling incomes meant to have delivered us entrepreneurialism and economic salvation? Weren’t the rich, loaded with even more dosh from tax cuts, meant to have invested their (fabulously) increased share of wealth in the sharemarket. So it wouldn’t ail. Since they still seem to have their dosh plundering/incentivising them to do their duty by significantly raising their taxes is the obvious course of action to take before selling assets.
Other reasons for selling appear to have been paying for the rebuild of Christchurch etc, keeping Government borrowing down. Then up popped electoral spin: investing in infrastructure. Specifically irrigation (surely not another subsidy), more money for health and education. None of the latter are sustainable.
Addendum: I omitted to mention above that asset sales might prove more costly than borrowing, which needs highlighting. Labour should have done during this during the election campaign. But failed to. Instead they relied on emotion: the legacy of anger over what happened when assets were last sold.
Key relies on the assumption that there would be a gain from selling the assets. Latterly there has been a bit of shift from the six of one to half a dozen of the other towards a more negative outcome. There is some pretty good financial analysis in the NZ Herald.