In 2008, Bill English was sprung secretly telling National members that he and Key would sell Kiwibank “‘eventually but not now“. After being caught out, English and Key categorically ruled out asset sales in the first term of a National government and said they would seek a mandate to make any sales in a second term.
That clear and unequivocal promises was vital to arresting the slide in National’s support following the secret tapes. National made a solemn promise not to sell assets in the first term.
Well, it’s another broken promise.
The keen eared would have noted some strange talk from English in his Budget speech yesterday where he, for no clear reason, made a point of distinguishing between ‘social assets’ the Crown owns like schools and roads, and ‘commerical assets’ like SOEs. Now, we know what he was on about. Stuff reports:
“Finance Minister Bill English has signalled the Government is again considering partial state asset sales – including Kiwibank.At a post-Budget lunch in Christchurch today, English told business leaders that National would “get to grips” with its position on state asset sales in the next eight months. “
Looks like ‘eventually’ has arrived.
There is no economic logic in selling off assets that make us money and perform important market roles like providing valuable transport networks (Air NZ, Kiwirail) and injecting competition into the banking sector.
Don’t get taken in by any of this ‘kiwi mum and dad investors’ nonsense. We know what happens when states assets are sold, they are bought up by foreigners who take the profits overseas and under-invest, usually to the point where the government has to step in to do the needed investment (Air NZ, Telecom, Kiwibank, Kiwirail – in each case the government has had to invest in a sector after a failed privatisation).
Kiwi mums and dads already have their share in public assets as taxpayers. The dividends from those companies pay for our public services. We put the money in, we get the rewards. Now, English wants to sell them off for a few quick bucks and let the profits go offshore forever.
Yesterday, Bill English made us borrow a billion dollars to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. Today, he says we need to ‘free up capital’ by selling off assets to the rich. This isn’t coincidence, it’s an ideology of tearing up the public wealth and handing it out to the rich.