Right votes for future asset sales

Written By: - Date published: 9:05 am, August 30th, 2012 - 16 comments
Categories: privatisation - Tags:

National, Banks, and Dunne voted to keep the door open for more asset sales yesterday. Clayton Cosgrove’s Bill would have required a super-majority in Parliament or a referendum to move more companies out of the SOE Act – a necessary step in the privatisation process. Dunne in particular has promised not to support further asset sales, yet given a chance to stop them, he refused.

16 comments on “Right votes for future asset sales”

  1. felix 1

    So Dunne turns out to be a two-faced liar, eh? Who’d have thunk it? He always seemed so genuinely principled and not like a weasel-wording snake-oil selling politician at all.

    Shock I am.

  2. Wayne 2

    Cosgrove’s Bill was unreasonable, and in fact antidemocratic. It cannot be right that a government elected with say a 70% majority and an explicit committment for asset sales would be thwarted by a minority of 30%. Supermajorities should be reserved from the most fundamental of democratic rights, usually associated with the electoral system.

    So Peter Dunne could vote against this bill while being oppossed to specific sales.

    Now I know some here would argue that asset sales are in the same class as voting rights, but they are not. They are a normal pattern in modern democracies of both left and right, though they seem to arouse more passion on the Left in New Zealand than elesewhere. I think that was because of the way Labour privitised in the 1980’s (and also National in the early 1990’s). Often as not the public did not get the opportunity to particapate, and by and large the was no retention of a cornerstone shareholding. Contrast that to TrustPower and Vector.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      This is true, but on the other hand asset sales are a type of law that is very difficulty/costly to reverse once some government has done it.

      It’d be quite easy for National to criminalise prostitution, for example. But putting the asset sales genie back in the bottle is hard and expensive, as Labour proved with Kiwirail. So in that respect it doesn’t seem unreasonable that there could perhaps be a higher hurdle to overcome in order to enact that policy.

    • bbfloyd 2.2

      try factoring in the select committee process that this bill would have been subjected to, with an open mind(preferably) ….

      the rest is confused drivel, but i hope taking my suggestion helps clear out a few blockages…

  3. Matt 3

    It is hardly unprecedented in the developed world that certain matters of national importance might require a supermajority to pass. Unless you guys like the tit-for-tat dicking around with things like superannuation or Kiwisaver or asset sales or [insert another example here] with each change in power, you might want to start doing something about it. 

  4. tracey 4

    I wish mr dunne would give us a definitive position we could rely upon.

    I see increased profit for airnz and 100% dividend. Perhaps some of that could be used to bring back milk in schools or something similar

  5. tracey 5

    The bill of rights is entrenched, why not something else?

  6. Wayne 6

    Actually the Bill of Rights should be entrenched, but is not. I would put it in the same category as Electoral Law.

    Of course at least part of privitisation can be reversed. The Govt can simply buy the shares or the underlying assets. Labour did so with Kiwirail and Air NZ. But as a rule they don’t because it is not sensible. Who would seroiusly suggest Govt should buy back Telecom.

    And do the Left here seriously think that the Govt should own all the things that were sold in the 1980’s and 1990’s. If the range of privitisation had not occurred then (even if badly done), we would be bizzarly out of step with all other modern economies.

    • tc 6.1

      ‘we would be bizzarly out of step with all other modern economies’ yes let’s all follow the leemings over the cliff.

      Essential infrastructure and strategic assets (Air NZ, KR, power/water) should never be sold and allowed to be plundered for private profit and run into the ground. 4+million people isn’t enough for those economies of scale you hear the free marketeers bleat on about.

      TCom don’t count as there’s competition, regulation works in that industry, however Joyce effectively has bought out chorus with taxpayer money just funnelled it back to their shareholders like a good Hollowman.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        TCom don’t count as there’s competition, regulation works in that industry,

        Nope, regulation will never be as cheap, effective or as efficient as a state run monopoly and competition actually makes it even more expensive. That’s the nature of infrastructure.

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      Who would seroiusly suggest Govt should buy back Telecom.

      You acquire the infrastructure and infrastructure operations side mate, you don’t buy back the deadloss corporate overhead.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.3

      Who would seroiusly suggest Govt should buy back Telecom.

      Actually, renationalising telecommunications is the sensible thing to do. Leaving it to the market and the profiteers has shown that that is the worst option. Telecom alone has cost us ~$15b in profits and yet here we are paying out another couple of billion to bring the network back up to standard. That translates into a dead weight loss of $15b dollars that we, quite simply, can’t afford and leaving it the way it is just increases that loss year on year.

      • weka 6.3.1

        Plus, we’d get better service. I had to phone faults the other day and got told that the phone I was calling about wasn’t a TC line and I would need to phone the company that that phone account was with. Only TC wouldn’t tell me which company it was (although the nice call centre person did give me the phone numbers of as many as she could).

        How fucking inefficient is that? Telecommunications, where the companies can’t even communicate with each other or their customers properly. 

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