Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Protecting our strategic assets

So,the government has acted to protect our strategic assets - including Auckland Airport - by amending the Overseas Investment Regulations to make New Zealand control of "strategically important infrastructure on sensitive land" a criteria that must be considered under the Overseas Investment Act. It's a good move. The sale of strategic assets to overseas investors under National in the 90's was a disaster for New Zealand, contributing significantly to our large and ongoing balance of payments deficit, and allowing those assets to be run down and asset stripped to satisfy their new owners' rapacious desire for profit. I'd have thought that stopping this from happening again would have been a high priority of a Labour government, and I'm shocked it's taken them 8 years to get around to it.

National naturally opposes the move, saying that it sends the wrong message to investors. But the sorts of investors it will discourage - those wanting to buy a local monopoly and coupon-clip while running a tax-scam - aren't the sorts of investors we want anyway.