Monday, March 14, 2011

More shock doctrine

First we had Fran O'Sullivan cynically using Christchurch's earthquake to push for cuts and privatisation. Now the Business Round Table have joined the chorus:

The Business Roundtable is urging Christchurch City Council to sell its shareholdings in commercial businesses after the earthquake that devastated the central city.

"Reducing its shareholding in its port, airport and electricity companies would free up cash for repairs to local infrastructure without imposing new burdens on ratepayers," the roundtable said.

Firstly, I'd think that the port, airport, and electricity are local infrastructure. Secondly, the council's ownership of those assets reduces rates bills by 15%. That's a heck of a lot of long-term revenue to forgo. But the BRT isn't actually interested in the well-being of the people of Christchurch. Instead, they're after an excuse - any excuse - to push the council to sell assets to them at fire sale prices. And an earthquake fits the bill nicely.

Like exorbitant rent rises, this is looting by another name, an effort to steal from the people for private profit. And hopefully the Christchurch City Council will make it clear exactly what it thinks of such greedy opportunism.