A stockmarket float can’t happen at just any time. It needs to be close to the annual report or late enough in the new year to allow new numbers to be made after the Christmas break. So 2 windows a year. 5 to the election. Treasury says the stockmarket can only handle 1 asset sale a window, preferably 1 a year. The Nats know they will lose the next election. So they can’t afford to lose this sales window if they’re to do all the sales by the election.
That’s why they’re trying to muscle the Waitangi Tribunal into giving its full report on the water rights issue by August 24th, allowing the government the time it needs to put the sales process into action for a float in late October, early November. They’re essentially threatening to push on regardless if they don’t get the finding by then.
A few reasons this attempt at bullying is a bad idea.
The judiciary reacts really badly to attempts by politicians to curtail their actions. The Tribunal has said it will report in September, and it will be September. If it’s earlier, the Tribunal will be subjugating itself to the political imperatives of the government of the day, and lose all its mana.
Even if it did report early, any sign that its determinations had been rushed by the government’s deadline would be fuel for the Maori Council’s high court injunction. As would any move by the Nats to push ahead with sales before getting the Tribunal’s report.
And nothing in bullying the Tribunal addresses the actual problem for National, which is the coming injunctions. They will easily suspend the sales through the end of this year and possibly well into the next. If National was smart, they would be cutting a deal with the Maori Council and the iwi that are likely injunct. But, they don’t want to be seen doing deals with Maori. They could have quietly done it months ago, but it’s too late for that now.
National’s determination to sell all our assets before they lose the election has set them an incredibly tight timetable. Hence their attempt to subvert the Waitangi Tribunal. Fortunately, for New Zealand, it won’t work.