Phil Goff has just announced that Labour is putting up a private members’ bill to entrench SOEs. This would mean they could only be sold either with 75% support of Parliament, or with majority support in a referendum. Great stuff. That effectively means any asset sale will have to go to a public vote. These are our assets. They should not be sold without our permission.
Once assets are sold, they are gone forever (unless we are forced to buy them back once private owners have asset stripped and run vital infrastructure into the ground). It’s not good enough that a government can make such irreversible decisions without a mandate or claiming a mandate on the thin pretext that it was one of the many policies that it sought election on.
Of course, this Bill is unlikely to get drawn this term, much get the support needed from National for a super-majority. Also, Labour is using delaying tactics on members’ days to stop the VSM Bill – I note this is Farrar’s only objection to the Bill, he doesn’t argue with the principal behind it.
This is a clear sign that the sixth Labour-led government will implement this law when they win in November. The law will still need 75% support to pass, but it would be a foolhardy National opposition that would block it.
In the long-run, this will protect New Zealand. Right now, it only takes one term of a rightwing government to lose the assets we have built up together over generations. Labour’s law will mean that any government that wants to sell our assets will have to get us to specifically agree first.