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Robson-On-Politics - 10 June 2006

Robson-On-Politics 10 June 2006

Enquiry about dates of 4th Labour government's asset fire sale programme

Robson-on-Politics got a few disbelieving emails from younger readers after my comment last week that the sale of Telecom, Air NZ, PostBank etc. in 1989-1990 occurred after Roger Douglas had surrendered the finance portfolio.

But, yes, it is true. These sales had nothing to do with the future ACT Party founder and everything to do with the then Labour leadership.


Labour's fire sale famously included the Shipping Corp., the Rural Bank, the National Film Unit, Maui Gas and much more but it was the forestry cutting rights sales that have gone down in history as infamous.

  • http://www.treasury.govt.nz/assetsales/income.asp
  • Labour made these errors under pressure from resurgent Nats

    At the time, Labour was under pressure from a resurgent National promising big tax cuts and a big spend-up to boot. The foreign-owned media, as always, gave National a free ride by providing no analysis into how National could possibly deliver both tax cuts for the rich and a big spend-up on everything from transport to defence, police to National Super.

    In its panic, Labour infamously sold thousands of acres of forests and then pretended the one-off windfall was revenue by announcing that it was the first Kiwi government in ages to have achieved a "surplus."

    The "surplus" news, however, benefited National's claim that it could deliver tax cuts and spending increases and the public of course threw Labour out anyway because most people opposed selling the family silver?

    National got elected in 1990.

    Spending cuts, asset sales, higher overseas borrowing, high interest rates and higher unemployment are what it delivered. Why does all of this matter now?

    In theory, the MMP system introduced in 1996 means neither National nor Labour can govern again without support from smaller parties so protecting us from the catastrophes of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

    But there have been some disturbing omens of late. Just like in 1990, we have a National Opposition going up and down

    The country promising big tax cuts, together with big increases in government spending on everything from transport to defence, police to 'the war on drugs' and health.

    And just like then, we have foreign-owned media outlets day after day proclaiming in feature articles, editorials and front-page new stories that the "surplus" should be used for large tax cuts that would mainly benefit those on higher incomes without children.

    And just like then National is making political capital promising to spend the "surplus" three or four times over which means the only way it could deliver would be via a big overseas borrowing programme to raise the needed funding, although at a very high cost to every family with a mortgage and at the cost also of higher unemployment and more welfare dependency.

  • http://www.progressive.org.nz/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2
  • United, NZ First & ACT are going along with it

    The MMP system should, in theory, provide families with mortgages protection against National's anti-Kiwi overseas borrowing binge proposal. But the bad omen is that the smaller parties that National would need to govern - NZ First, the Maori Party, United Future & ACT - are all themselves busily proposing big tax cuts and big spend-ups of their own.

    Vote Green, get National?

    Robson-on-politics notes the newspaper editorials endorsing the Greens' opening to National and the uncritical newspaper reports claiming that the Labour-Progressive government has rejected working with the Greens in favour of other parties since 1999.

    The reality is somewhat different than that: The Greens declined to join the centre-left coalition after the 1999 election. In the 2002 election, the Greens knowingly took a position on GE which their MPs were forewarned was unacceptable to Labour.

    In 2005, the Greens kept their word to Labour and GE wasn't mentioned again. But the problem last September, of course, was that the Labour-Progressive-Green bloc lost its six-year majority. All that means is that the challenge for progressives in 2008 is to regain our majority.

    Families' First & Climate Change

    Robson-on-politics, of course, has excellent connections in the Auckland Labour and Green parties and can tell faithful readers today that should the Very Honorable Phillip Field become the new Families First MP for Mangere shortly, then he will support the Lab-Progressive government on confidence. That means no climate change in Parliament, in spite of alarmist media reports about the "vulnerable" 61-seat majority on confidence and supply that the coalition government enjoys.

    What the foreign-owned media don't tell their readers, because their interest is to sell newspapers not enlighten readers with reality, is that you can add another six votes to the government because the currently 'abstain-on-confidence' Green Party would never actually bring down the Lab-Progressive government because our government is doing far more to plan ahead for global climate change than the National-ACT alternative would ever deliver.

  • http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0605/S00335.htm
  • NZ Herald re-defines the English word genocide

    In Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany history was often revised or re-written by the State-controlled media. But it isn't just fascist states that can destroy truth and kill hope. The NZ Herald in Auckland is proving that with its revisionist history lectures on East Timor:

  • http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0606/S00084.htm
  • ENDS


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