Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Asset Sales'

“I AM NOW FOREIGN OWNED” (after Colin McCahon)


Why Labour is both right and wrong about asset sales. (And how I’ll be voting on 26 November – as if you didn’t know!)

I’m against selling our state assets. I’m impressed by Labour’s argument that you can only sell an asset once, and that, as soon as you’ve sold it, you’ve lost the revenue stream forever. Forever is probably the key word. You have to calculate the dividend loss for an indefinite period that ends – never.

And I’m not impressed by the Government’s intention to use the money from asset sales to fund hospitals and schools. Funding for hospitals and schools shouldn’t come from  selling the family silver, it should come from general taxation. If it doesn’t, where are you going to find the cash to fund health and education next year, and the year after that, and the year after that,  when the assets are gone?

I’m familiar with the Government’s answer: ‘We aren’t selling off the lot; we’re keeping a controlling 51% share and we’ll still have the dividends from that.’ Well, 51% of the dividends! And I hope you won’t think me unkind, but I wouldn’t trust you as far as I could throw you on this. When you run short of dough, and you will run short of dough, you’re going to sell the rest. Of course you are. You’re philosophically opposed to the idea of governments owning and running businesses. That’s the private sector’s job.

And this is where you’re out of touch with the essentially chauvinistic view of a majority of Kiwis: ‘Hey, this is our bank; it’s got our name on it – Kiwi Bank; this is our airline, it’s got our name on it – Air New Zealand; this is our power station – we built the bloody thing! This stuff is all ours and you want to flog it off to foreigners.’ Ours and foreigners are probably the key (but not Key) words in this debate.   Read the rest of this entry »