Friday, March 09, 2012

How to stop privatisation

Back in December, David Cunliffe made some noises about reversing National's privatisation, saying that a future Labour government would simply buy back stolen state assets. Then, in a typical display of Labour chickenshitness chickenshittage, he backed away from it, for fear of offending international markets.

But when our assets are being stolen by the 1%, offending international markets is exactly what the opposition needs to do.

Privatisation can be stopped fairly easily: all the opposition has to do is announce that the deals will not be respected, and that "investors" (parasitic speculators seeking a stream of monopoly infrastructure rents) will lose money. Announce that any stolen company will be fully renationalised, at either the sale price or market value, whichever is lower, less any unreasonable dividends extracted in the meantime. Suddenly, buying SOE shares becomes at best a low-interest loan to the government (or a loss, if the companies subsequently perform poorly). Institutional investors will seek higher returns elsewhere. Even if some fools buy in, they will do so at a much lower price, removing any pretense that the sales are to the economic benefit of New Zealand, and deterring the sales from going ahead in the first place.

The joy of this strategy is that the opposition may not even have to go through with it. If you crash the price enough beforehand, even the government will be forced to admit that we are better off keeping these assets in government hands.

The question is which opposition party will have the courage and virtu to do this. Will Labour finally find its heart? Or will they again abdicate to the Greens (who can credibly announce the policy by pointing to their expected influence over a future Labour government)? The choice is up to them.

(And again, for those saying "oppositions can't promise to renege on their predecessors' deals, it would create uncertainty and offend international investors", fuck them. Governments do that to voters all the time, with dire personal and social results. Why should a pack of parasites, who don't even live here, be treated better than us by our own representatives? Democracy means accepting that the government can change, and policy with it. And that shouldn't be subject to the veto of having to be consistent with past bad decisions).