The government’s move to strengthen the Overseas Investment Act on Monday was met with predictable criticism from the â€˜markets first, people second’ brigade. National Deputy Leader Bill â€˜Privatise â€˜em all’ English came out quickly on the side of big foreign money against New Zealand control of vital assets.
But Bill’s supposed leader, John Key, didn’t know what he should think. Should he go with what most people want or should he give a nod to National’s big business base?
It’s tough when you don’t have your own principles to draw upon; constantly having to be whatever your current audience wants you to be. And this time Key had two conflicting audiences at once: ordinary kiwis and the business elite. The result was a flustered Key who didn’t know what to say in Parliament and to the media yesterday.
No doubt when Key does eventually make up his mind, he will be both for protecting our assets and against it, depending on whom he’s talking to.
UPDATE: TV3 has footage of Key being very slippery to the media about his position. Check out Bill English in the background, clearly in pain watching Key’s contortions.