CAFCA Commends John Key on Privatisation Pledge
CAFCA Commends John Key on Privatisation
But 20 Years Of Damage Caused By Asset Sales Needs To Be Repaired
The Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) believes in giving credit where it’s due, so we take the rare (possibly unique) step of commending National for backing away from privatisation of State assets. But Honest John Key has only committed to keeping the floodgates shut for the first term of any National government. This is disingenuous –unless he is predicting a single term National government (and there never has been such a beast), then all bets are off for any subsequent term of that National government.
And it certainly doesn’t indicate any philosophical shift by Key or National. In the same breath, he committed National to public private partnerships in infrastucture devlopment in the education sector. So, obviously Key’s latest backflip (we nominate him for the Olympics gymnastic team) is motivated solely by the need to say and do anything to win the election as National’s all consuming obsession.
Now that both major
parties are singing from the same songbook (for the same
election year reasons), both Clark and Key need to commit
the Government, no matter which one heads it, to not merely
stopping any more State asset privatisations but to actively
repair the enormous damage done to the social and economic
fabric of New Zealand by two decades of a bipartisan garage
sale. To give just the most notorious example – Telecom,
the only transnational corporation to be a finalist in every
single Roger Award since the Award’s creation in 1997. To
read why Telecom was adjudged the worst transnational
corporation in NZ in 2007, read the Roger Award
And those assets need to be reclaimed, for the benefit of the New Zealand people who are their rightful owners. Not on some halfpie, reluctant, crisis response basis i.e because Air New Zealand went broke or because the foreign owners of the railways wants to get rid of it, or because of a promise to a vital coalition partner (which is how Kiwibank came into existence, despite the sneering opposition of Labour’s leadership). But on a systematic and organised basis as a matter of policy. To use Helen Clark’s phrase, a party that put that forward as a platform really would have a genuine point of difference – not to mention considerable public support.
That would take a real philosophical shift, not just driven by electoral expediency. It would take true national leadership, which is sadly lacking from the two major parties on this vital question of who owns and controls New Zealand. And it would need consistency – not the present situation where blocking the sale of Auckland Airport is trumpeted on the one hand, while at the same time opening negotiations for an international investment agreement (the P4 plus the US) which will threaten the existence of any “restrictions”on foreign “investment” in NZ.
So, Labour and National, you’ve both made a start, for the usual base reasons, on putting things right on this issue. But there’s a whole lot more to be done, don’t stop now. Far from taking State asset privatisation off the election agenda (which is what Key’s move is aimed at doing), it, and the whole issue of foreign control, needs to be front and centre this year. The voters certainly think so.