Friday, February 17, 2012

Numbers out of their arse

How much will we get if the government goes ahead with its plans to flog off 50% of our state-owned monopoly energy companies, plus Solid Energy and Air New Zealand, to foreign buyers? $6 billion. But according to Finance Minister Bill English, that's just a guess:

"I just want to emphasise that it is not our best guess; it's just a guess. It's just to put some numbers in that look like they might be roughly right for forecasting purposes.

"That's an honest answer."

So, on a core policy (hell, the core policy, because they've got nothing else this term), National is pulling numbers out of their arse. And they claim to be better economic managers? Bullshit. If they pulled this from opposition, they'd be deservedly laughed out of the room; when they do it from government, with the benefit of advice from Treasury and a pile of overpaid ticket-clipping consultants, its simply not credible.

(Speaking of Treasury, we're paying them $75 million a year for this bullshit. If all they're going to be producing is guesses, then I think we can get the job done a lot cheaper - say, by a dartboard in the Minister's office).

But the kicker is that if we accept this guess, the sales are a losing proposition:

The books forecast that the profits the Government will lose as a result of partially selling the SOEs will exceed the savings from the resulting reduction in debt.
Yes, Bill English's core policy for the term is to make us actively worse off, for the benefit of a few rich pricks and foreign buyers. It makes no sense whatsoever. But its so very, very National, isn't it?