Solid Energy chairman John Palmer has suggested that a partial sale of the SOE could be on the cards.
It’s clearly pissed off National, who desperately don’t want to talk about their privatisation agenda, with Gerry Brownlee “I think he has just stepped well over the mark this morning and I’m sure no one is particularly happy with him. Mr Palmer is, of course, not an elected official, he is an appointed chairman.”
But Brownlee hasn’t ruled out a sale. That means he wants to sell, he just doesn’t want to talk about.
The government wants to expand New Zealand’s energy production. Right now, Solid Energy is one of the biggest players, meaning the profits stay in this country. A sale would be nuts. Why would we want foreigners to make money off digging up our natural resources?
Palmer says that Air New Zealand is an example that Solid Energy could follow.
It’s weird how the Right is trying to portray Air New Zealand as a model for successful partial privatisation. They clearly don’t remember, or hope we won’t remember, how it came to be that the government has a majority holding in AirNZ. It was another example of failed privatisation. The government sold all of AirNZ in 1988. The privatised company was a disaster and was at the edge of collapse after its failed investment in Ansett. The Right said let it fail or let Singapore Air buy it up. That would have been the death of regional air routes in New Zealand. So, Labour stepped in, in the teeth of opposition from the Right, and bought back most of AirNZ, saving it.
AirNZ is the same old story of sale, asset strip, and government bail out. It is no model for private privatisation.
So far, John Key has backed down on every time when he has been challenged on whether he would ever sell a specific asset. We now have permanent promises that Kiwibank and NZPost will never be sold, in full or in part. Someone should ask him if he’s ever going to sell Solid Energy.