Tell us what you really think

Written By: - Date published: 10:42 am, June 9th, 2010 - 12 comments
Categories: accountability, assets, privatisation - Tags:

National was forced into a back down by the extremely negative public reaction to Bill English’s kite-flying over selling Kiwibank. Now, after initially supporting the idea of a sale, John Key has emphatically ruled it out… unless he changes his mind later.

When it comes to other public assets, Key is more circumspect. Asked by Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB if he would sell NZ Post (hey, isn’t Key’s right-hand man, Wayne Eagleson on holiday with the head of NZ Post?), Key would not rule it out saying he might “technically” sell it. I wonder if this is a hint of the kind of ‘hollowing out’ I suggested last week, whereby the government sells off the profit stream of the asset through bonds or non-voting shares but retains legal ownership.

Duncan Garner asked Key about other assets at the post-Cabinet press conference and got the semantic run around as well.

It’s clear. If National wasn’t planning asset sales they would just say so as other parties do, and the Nats eventually did over Kiwibank. The fact that National won’t rule out sales tells us they want to sell them but don’t have the courage to front up and have an honest public debate on the issue.

[Update: John Armstrong muses today on why Key backed English’s musings on a partial sale of Kiwibank for two weeks until Labour and the Progressives pointed out that he had promised nine times never to sell it. Armstrong comes up with some strange theory about not taking the post-Budget wind from English’s sails. The obvious truth is that before becoming PM Key was saying whatever it took to get elected and had either forgotten his categorical statements on Kiwibank or was hoping everyone else had.

Predictably, Armstrong congratulates Key, saying it was a pragmatic decision to take Kiwibank off the table because its special circumstances make selling it impractical, disproving claims the privatisation agenda is ideological. Funny, a couple of weeks ago we were being told Kiwibank’s special were why it needed to be sold. The real reason that Kiwibank has the cast-iron guarantee is it happened to be the asset at the centre of the secret tape. It makes no more sense to sell any other public assets than it does Kiwibank and any attempt to sell them will meet with the same opposition]

12 comments on “Tell us what you really think”

  1. Zaphod Beeblebrox 1

    Then again they may not have a clue what they want to do. English mentions the first thing that comes into his head, then Key tries to be vaguely supportive before being told by his pollster that he better make up his mind. Armstrong is assuming that they have actually put some thought into the way forward and what is best for NZ. I suspect they just want to get re-elected then they will come up with the ideas. Called make it up as you go along.

  2. Pete 2

    I’m not sure whether this has been linked to already, but Lyndon Hood over at Scoop has a brilliant piece of satire on Key’s Kiwibank musings:
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1006/S00038.htm

    And Marty I couldn’t agree more with this:
    “The obvious truth is that before becoming PM Key was saying whatever it took to get elected and had either forgotten his categorical statements on Kiwibank or was hoping everyone else had.”

    …it’s how they like to govern, on the back of ignorance/apathy and typically solid spin/PR (solid in the sense that it’s effective, not that I generally agree with its substance).

  3. just saying 3

    NACT is determined to curtail all the income streams into the public sector, to starve big parts of it to death.

  4. Lanthanide 4

    My mum, who always votes Jim Anderton (and Labour for party vote since he split from the alliance) thinks that it is good that John Key backed done. I tried to point out that he never should have flip-flopped in the first place, which she agreed with, but still thought it was good that, “for once, a prime minister has actually changed their mind over public opinion”.

  5. He thinks exactly precisely what the focus groups tell him to …

  6. Has he backed down or is he only saying he has?
    Trust, Not a word i would associate with John Key. Smile and Wave has flipped and flopped so often that you can not trust what spouts from his mouth.
    Also not his wording “Will not sell Kiwibank while i am PM” Could that mean he is thinking of not standing at the next election?
    After-all it might be getting a bit boring for him now?

  7. vto 7

    Good luck with getting him to tell everyone what he really thinks.

    Perhaps it is a symptom of bringing so-called business skills to a political organisation. Business folk will, generally, never rule anything out either. All one can rely on is the secured contract, funds in the bank, etc, etc. Short of being nailed down, everything is taken with a large grain of salt.

    Perhaps Key needs to adjust his skills …

    mind you, it seems a common affliction in the ‘hallowed’ halls of power. Btw, I had to laugh in the weekend at Tau Henare complaining about getting no respect from some tobacco outfit. Ha ha ha ha, wtf does he expect? I think its called chickens coming home to roost. Bloody dipstick.

  8. Zak Creedo 8

    so..

    we are down to it at last.. giving them ideas about hollowing etc.. bonding out and other bs.. I’m more than surprised at you..

    btw: how come connecting to comment here blanked for over 5 minutes.. this one (repeat) shooting through in just two minutes..?

  9. tsmithfield 9

    The problem with your article is that selling Kiwibank never was on the table in the first place.

    All the government had said is they hadn’t ruled out selling it but were thinking about whether they would or not. Now after due consideration, it appears they have decided to rule out selling it. So whats wrong with that?.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      The problem with your article is that selling Kiwibank never was on the table in the first place.

      According to Blinglish it was.

      Now after due consideration, it appears they have decided to rule out selling it.

      Due consideration of the polls perhaps but they’re still wanting to sell it. A strong community is the worst thing possible for capitalism and NACT are out to destroy the community. Selling it’s assets will do that.

    • Rosy 9.2

      “All the government had said is they hadn’t ruled out selling it but were thinking about whether they would or not. Now after due consideration, it appears they have decided to rule out selling it. So whats wrong with that?”

      Before the election JK had ruled it out – we won’t sell Kiwibank – ever. Then all of a sudden it was being considered again. That’s what’s wrong with that.

  10. a crosby textor government decsions by polling not prinicpal.english probably representing the real party.

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