Does Key respect the Waitangi Tribunal’s call for a temporary halt to asset sales and its likely call for a further delay when it presents its full findings in September? If he does, he looks weak, gives the Keep Our Assets petition more time. If he doesn’t, he picks a fight with Maori, resulting in court injunctions, again delaying the sales, hurting the sale price, making him look weak.
Reckon he’ll pick the fight. From the start, he’s used the water rights issue as a chance to shore up rightwing Pakeha by fomenting racial divide. Risks burning off liberal swing voters. But there’s more rednecks. It’s his optimal choice.
Increasingly clear that Key’s out of his depth on this policy. He’s getting a hammering on the cost and the economics of the sales from the opposition, and now legal blockages are popping up. All these issues should have been anticipated. A strategy developed long in advance. It is a testament to the weakness of Key’s lazy political management that his flagship policy is coming apart on him so badly.
Just a note. While it’s great that iwi are fouling up asset sales remember the objective for some is ultimately not to stop the sales but to get shares. That’s legitimate. They’re just trying to realise the value of their property rights. But it means that those wanting shares aren’t really friends of the anti-sales fight.