Friday, February 18, 2011

Calling Key's bluff

When he first floated the spectre of privatising our state-owned electricity companies, John Key promised he would ignore public opposition, saying he would press on with the plan even if there was widespread protest. The public may just have called his bluff. A poll by 3 News shows 60% of voters are opposed to Key's plan, with only 30% in favour. In other words, Key isn't even convincing his own party's supporters that privatisation is a good idea.

Bill English is hanging tough, saying that National has no plans to back down. But faced with a choice between keeping faith with his party's uber-rich donors, and the voters who determine who holds power, something is going to have to give. This policy is an election loser for National - attitudes against privatisation are strongly held (and rightly so, given our past experiences with it), and the sort of thing which swings a floating voters' mind. If National doesn't drop this policy, it may find itself in opposition in December.

Still, better to be safe than sorry. The best way of protesting against privatisation is to vote against National and its coalition partners in November. If they are not in power, there is no threat, problem solved.