Yesterday, Phil O’Reilly’s Business New Zealand basically declared war on Labour and the Greens. Their ‘open letter‘ demanded opposition parties to withdraw the NZ Power policy or risk a capital strike. Unprecedented in modern NZ history. It was a boots and all attempt by the capitalist elite to try to monster the Left. It proves that they think NZ Power is both practical and popular. The Greens and Labour told them to fuck off.
So, who does Phil O’Reilly represent?
He claims to represent all Kiwi business, which is manifestly false. Only a tiny minority of businesses are members of Business New Zealand. And who’s among that tiny minority?
In other words, Phil’s bills are paid, in part, by the companies whose excessive profits NZ Power will give back to the people. He’s doing their job by being their dirt man.
More broadly, Business New Zealand represents New Zealand’s rentier class – the people who make great big piles money not by doing anything clever and innovative but simply by virtual of owning strategic assets that have become even more profitable thanks to neoliberal deregulation and privatisation. Rentiers effectively ‘tax’ the productive economy by owning key inputs that everyone has to use (eg. power) and charging as much as they can get away with.
The rentiers see NZ Power as a huge threat. If the electricity companies lose their rents by virtual of NZ Power fixing the broken market, whose rents could be next? That’s what’s got the others worried. That’s the underlying context behind the elite’s all out attack on Labour and the Greens since NZ Power has been launched.
Despite all their bullshit and their bought ‘academic’ analysis, the rentier elite know that NZ Power will work. That’s why they’re so terrified and why they’re kicking and screaming so hard. If NZ Power was an impractical joke, then the Right would gleefully mock it, not plead and demand for that Labour and the Greens drop it.