Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A fire sale

Earlier this month the opposition suceeded in forcing a referendum on the government's asset-sales programme. The government's response? A fire sale:

Meridian Energy is to list on the share market on October 29 - earlier than previously signalled.

Finance minister Bill English and state-owned energy minister Tony Ryall have today announced the timeline for the float in which the Government hopes to raise around $2.3 billion for selling up to 49 per cent of state-owned power company.


Prime Minister John Key said the Genesis Energy partial float was likely to occur first half of next year, and work was already underway towards that.

The Government and officials were also currently working to decide the best way to sell down the Government's stake in Air NZ, but that was likely to be a much shorter process than that for the power companies given it was already listed.

He would not rule out selling Air NZ shares before Christmas this year.

So basicly they're trying to sell it all before they have to hold a referendum, making the people's voice irrelevant. It's a giant "fuck you" to the New Zealand people. And it is unlikely to go down well.

But that doesn't matter to National. All they are interested in is stealing these assets for their rich mates and redirecting that monopoly dividend stream away from schools, public transport and hospitals and into the private pockets of the mega-rich. And they don't care if they have to trample on our democracy to do it.

Of course, there is a solution: announce that if the referendum fails (that is, if the public opposes asset sales), then stolen assets will be restored to public ownership, at a loss to the thieves. This is fiscally neutral, even profitable if the share price has fallen in the interim, as it has with Mighty River Power. And if a credible threat is made, it should deter any interest in buying stolen assets.