English is facing attacks at the Nat conference over asset sales. The neolibs vultures treat the state as a carcass to pick clean. But old school conservatives believe in investing the nation. And business types know you don’t get rich by selling profitable assets. English – who is all ideology, no practical experience: straight from uni to Treasury to Parliament – has no good excuses. All he can offer is expensive measures that make selling even more unprofitable.
According to Stuff:
State asset sales are proving to be a bone of contention even within National’s own ranks as its grassroots members question whether crucial assets will be flogged off overseas.
The government has struggled to reassure Kiwis that its plan to sell a 49 per cent stake in the remaining state owned power companies won’t see them end up in foreign ownership.
But it also appears to have done a poor selling job among its own members with Finance Minister Bill English facing questions from party members during a public session of the National Party conference in Wellington today.
Mr English said the government was working on ways to ensure Kiwi investors were at the front of the queue but acknowledged there was no way to stop them selling shares to overseas buyers.
If the government tried to ban the sale of shares overseas “it wouldn’t be a market”.
One option was to introduce a “loyalty” scheme similar to some which operated overseas and rewarded people for taking a long term stake.
How much of the sales revenue would that eat up? We already know that lost dividends will outweigh revenue after a decade or so. Add in subsidies for local buyers and the hundreds of millions the ‘middlemen sales advisers’ will pocket, and that equation just gets worse.