If Labour really wanted to stop National’s asset sales in their tracks they only need to come out and say they will buy them back at cost or even better yet promise to nationalise them on their own terms. No one will touch the shares with a barge pole with such a threat hanging over them.
They won’t though because Labour remain as wedded to the neo-liberal agenda as National. Tony Ryall today quite rightly gave the Labour Party a serve over its hypocrisy.
“Remember when Labour sold New Zealand Steel to Equiticorp for $327 million? This 1988 sale was pushed through Parliament under urgency.
Remember when Labour sold Petrocorp to Rossport Investments in 1988 for $801 million? Again, rushed through under urgency.
Remember when Labour sold Post Office Bank to ANZ Banking Group in 1989 for $665 million? – again approved under urgency – and no select committee hearings.
In just three years, Labour sold over 15 state assets for almost $10 billion to the highest bidders.
Who voted for these asset sales without telling the public about their plans at the previous election?
Phil Goff. Annette King. Trevor Mallard. And the rest of the Labour Party.
The same people who are now criticising the National Government’s mandated, long signalled, partial share offer to New Zealanders.
Labour is fully committed to the TPP, WTO, IMF, World Bank, APEC and every other trans national organisation that has pushed to deregulate and privatise the global economy. For Labour to oppose these asset sales is pure political expediency and not backed by any strong convictions. Indeed National has just agreed to top up its IMF obligations without any protest from Labour. New Zealand is now on the hook for up to NZ$4.2 billion if the IMF decides it needs to bailout European banks and their governments.
Like Labour/Liberal in Australia, Conservative/Labour in Britain, Democrat/Republican in the US – Labour and National in New Zealand are two sides of the same coin or two branches of the same ideology. They have very minor differences over welfare, education and taxation but both remain as fully committed to the neo-liberal reforms of the last 30 years as any of their foreign counterparts. Both are desperate to appear fiscally responsible and stable, terrified of upsetting the “markets” and accepting of their place in the global pecking order. Both are obsequiously deferential to the global banking and finance industry. David Parker or David Cunliffe will be no different from Bill English. Change the actors but the basic policies remain the same with a bit of a fiddle and tweak for appearances sake.