Make no mistake: National is working on a programme of asset sales by stealth, where they force SOEs to pay the government special dividends (which it will probably use on tax cuts) and the SOEs pay for it by issuing bonds. The value of the public assets is privatised and we’re left with a shell.
What’s really interesting, though, is what is missing. Treasury admits that it is holding back 8 more papers on the topic of sell of government assets, including bonds issues, because they are part of work that is still “under consideration”. We have an idea of what is in one of these papers, it’s what got us doing these OIAs in the first place: detailed options, including ‘special dividends’/bond issues, that mean the government can sell public assets while appearing to retain them.
The cover letter from Treasury also tells us that two of the remaining papers are part of the work Treasury is doing on trying to understand why the public is so opposed to asset sales.
That tells us two things:
1) Treasury and the Government are totally disconnected from reality if they don’t understand why 80% of Kiwi oppose privatisation
2) they are preparing for an intense indoctrination programme to try to convince us that sales are good or, more likely, necessary for the fiscal stability of the government
At least now we’ll see it coming.
But I want you to take another look at the papers we do have. In particular, check out the slides.
What do you think the blanked out word on page 20 is?
“Agree broad classification of companies as [blanked out], growth, and infrastructure etc and focus companies on that end.”
I presume it’s the same word that is blanked out on pages 23, 24, and 26 (possibly, this is a different word).
It’s obviously some word classifying some of the SOEs (the last two slides with a word blanked out in the title list some SOEs). And it’s a word that the Government doesn’t want us to see.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the word is something that indicates they are top of the list for privatisation.
Get ready New Zealand, these companies are on the Govt’s secret list for sale in a second term:
Kiwirail (I guess Key will have to forget his pledge never to sell it, again)