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Define "Public Private Partnership", Helen Clark


Define "Public Private Partnership", Helen Clark

Michael Cullen and Helen Clark have speared Dr Armstrong for telling the truth about their "public private partnership" scheme, ACT New Zealand Associate Commerce Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"If Dr Armstrong - who has been so close to them - misunderstood then they must tell us all exactly what they think PPP means."

"I know Greg Kay well. He uses language elegantly. His reference to "prime mover advantage" was a precisely-calculated euphemism for insider privilege. That is what partnership means. Partners share the perks. There is no other way of enticing business people into such nebulous and undefined projects with politicians.

"Years of my law practice were spent unwinding the disastrous consequences of the last interventionist Government's adventures in crony capitalism. "Prime mover" advantages are very real. An activist Government allowed Mobil to write its own deal for the Synfuels plant that cost us more than $15 billion in today's money.

"NZ Steel was eventually given to BHP for less than a tenth of the more than $8 billion in today's dollars spent by taxpayers on it.

"The Whangarei Oil Refinery was a classic example of "public private partnership". The oil companies took NZ Refining off the Government for less than a fifth of the value of the business only a few years later. They had the benefit of a levy sweetener from everyone who bought petrol in Auckland.

"A select committee enquiry into Dr Armstrong's blunder in spilling the beans should go much further than simply examining who said what. The real issue is that the Government is deliberately recreating crony capitalism in New Zealand. Crony capitalism silences business critics, looks active to voters, and buys political favours, all at the same time.

"New Zealanders will pay the price again for murkiness in relationships between politicians who have taxing and law-making power, and the plutocracy. Nearly a century ago, Teddy Roosevelt in the US was partly reacting to "public private partnership" when he campaigned against the "malefactors of great wealth" who had gained monopolies in the US.

"Greg Kay's delicate phrase "prime mover advantage" is a great description for what built the Fletcher family fortunes. Fletchers were the fast-tracked building contractors to the first Labour government. Inexperienced Labour were impatient with the normal government safeguards against corruption built up by long experience. The Fletchers capitalised on their "relationship" in the vast state house building boom that followed.

"The Government should tell us exactly what these public private partnerships are. They have talked of them for three years. If Ms Clark can't, she should be hounded. This is far more important than whether Mrs Shipley discussed politics with a PR man," Mr Franks said.

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