It makes no sense to sell the assets National want to sell. But the particular economic cases just keeps getting worse.
This week it appears things went disastrous.
Bill English had to admit that Solid Energy is unlikely to sell. It’s having to review its entire operation as coal prices drop and the dollar stays high.
Meridian is in a game of chicken with Rio Tinto as it does its regular attempt to screw NZ down. 15% of our electricity use is a big chip to play.
Mighty River’s biggest customer Norske Skog is looking at halving production, which could set the entire electricity market back until 2016.
On Friday the Waitangi Tribunal is expected to put out its latest report on Water Rights, which will have a huge effect on both Mighty River and Genesis. It’s highly unlikely to deliver the message that Water Rights and Asset Sales are separable that the government want to hear. Expect court action if the government pushes ahead.
Recently retired Air NZ CEO Ralph Norris says now’s a terrible time to sell Air NZ, with the airline industry at the bottom of a cycle. Some would say its a troubled industry as peak oil continues to bite, but Air NZ seems safely near the back of the queue – only ahead of Solid Energy.
And surely you can’t flood the market by selling 3 power companies in quick succession? Even without the red flas to investors highlighted above.
It would have been great to hear how the government expects to get out of this fine mess. An explanation of how they’re going to cope when they’ve already booked the $6 billion “guess” of revenue asset sales are meant to bring in the budget. Where do they go now?
But no, as usual accountability is nowhere. As is now usual we had Morning Report with their succession of “Minister X refused our invitation to speak”, and no alternate spokesperson, not even a press release.
We vote them in and they’re accountable to us. That’s the theory, but it seems they think they’re only accountable to themselves, because they’re certain of their own rightness, no evidence needed.
So we had a nice interview with Clayton Cosgrove, and Nine to Noon had an excellent analysis from Mike Williams.
All the while Key and his mates were too busy to talk to us: