Steven Joyce was asked some hard questions today by Labour Minister of Communications and Information Technology David Cunliffe concerning Nationals Privatisation plans for New Zealand’s SOEs. Once again the speaker of the house Lockwood Smith came to National’s rescue. Lockwood argued that Joyce didn’t have to answer a question because the Minister disagreed with the word “Privatisation.” What utter Bullshit!
National started to use the word first when they floated the idea, so it’s a valid word to use to describe what National intends to undertake. David Cunliffe did not load a question by using the word “Privatisation.” Saying so is ridiculous and Lockwood’s argument turns Parliament into a farce.
Since when are facts characterizations? Steven Joyce is simply dismissing facts out of hand because he has no answers. When the facts are presented, there is clearly no argument for asset sales. Our partially privatised SOEs charge more; often need to be bailed out by the taxpayer and account for billions of dollars of lost revenue each year. The amount of shares retained by New Zealand investors is minimal making such an argument mute.
8% of New Zealanders purchased shares in Contact Energy when it was partially privatised. Today, only 2.5% of Contact Energy shares are retained by Kiwi’s… so where does that leave National’s “Mum and Dad investors” proposition, especially considering National has no mechanism to ensure New Zealander’s purchase or retain shares? It’s a lie, plain and simple.
National is spending $6 million before the next general election on getting our assets ready to be sold. They’re effectively gambling with our money, taking the will of the public for granted and not undertaking proper procedures to gain a mandate. Many polls have recently shown that two thirds of Kiwi’s don’t want to sell our SOEs. So who exactly is National listening to?
It’s a travesty that National undertook the $6 million outlay of taxpayer money before seeking a mandate from the public. That’s like stealing money from your wallet to sell your family car… Then you’ll have to hire the car back again at a marked up price, unless you kick the thief out of the house. It’s not the way a proper functioning Government should be conducting itself.
It will cost taxpayers around 2 to 5% of the profit value to sell our SOEs, which works out to be $136 to $340 million. Joyce knows what the potential costs will be from partially privatising our SOEs… He’s playing stupid and is treated as such by David Cunliffe.
As usual National is happy to reside in rhetoric and a twisted sense of reality, which is not appreciated or helpful to the process. Lockwood Smith should ensure that questions are answered appropriately, instead of being lost in Nationals obfuscation.