You can’t trust anything the Nats say. John Key has a long history of lying. Other Nats add their own lies to the mix. Three lies in particular have been both recent, and significant for the election.
The first was Key making up (on the most dubious of “sources”) the nonsense that rating agency S&P had said that a credit downgrade was more likely under Labour. S&P flatly denied it. Ouch.
The second lie was Key’s often cited excuse for not raising the minimum wage – it will “cost 6000 jobs”. It turns out that in fact Treasury gave him the opposite advice: “The balance of probabilities is that a higher minimum wage does not cost jobs”.
Last night TV1 revealed the third lie, on the explosive topic of asset sales:
Ombudsman called in over asset sales
Two major aspects of National’s asset sales plan are in question.
ONE News has discovered that the party has very limited official advice to back up its claims about restricting foreign investors and big businesses buying up the assets. ONE News has been fighting since August to have this made public under the Official Information Act.
Finally this morning, ONE News found out that despite claims that up to 90% of these assets will remain in New Zealand hands, the Treasury has not provided the Government with any detailed analysis on that aspect of the asset sales policy. …
In August, National said it expected New Zealanders would end up owning 85% to 90% of those companies, and just 10% to 15% would end up in foreign hands.
“These companies will remain firmly and overwhelmingly in New Zealand control,” Tony Ryall, State Owned Enterprises Minister, said in August.
ONE News used the Official Information Act to seek the expert advice given to back up those claims.
The Government refused to release the information about the asset sales so ONE News called in the Ombudsmen to investigate.
The response to the ONE News complaint reveals the Government has received very little official advice to back up some of its major claims about the asset sales programme.
In fact Treasury admits it has not provided the Minister of Finance with any advice about a possible 10% cap on shares held by any single company or individual. … The Ombudsmen’s ruling also says that the basis for the 85% to 90% domestic take-up rate and the 10% cap for any one shareholder was oral advice provided by Ministerial advisers and informal discussions with market contacts. …
In other words the Nats have been advising themselves about whatever fairy story they want the public to believe. And they’ve been caught out just days before the election. Read on for plenty more disturbing revelations in this report:
A significant amount of information is being held back from the public about this asset sales programme. In fact five official reports on asset sales policy are being kept secret.
The Ombudsman has made an official ruling that the Government was right to refuse the release of these papers. The ruling says it is too early in the sales process, and if the information got out now it could affect the amount of money gained from these assets. The ruling also says the negative economic impact of that could be significant given the total asset sales price is expected to be between $5 billion and $7 billion.
ONE News has argued that people need this information to judge whether the asset sales policy stacks up, given they are about to go to the polls in a few days’ time. The Ombudsman will hear ONE News’ final case tomorrow and make a final ruling probably by Thursday. That would leave one day for this to be debated before people go to the polls to vote on Saturday.
We’re being asked to vote to sell our best performing assets on the basis of lies and incomplete information. In the best case, if the Ombudsman decides that the public has a right to know what’s going on, we get one day to assimilate it before the election. It’s nonsense, it’s a travesty, it should never have come to this.