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Banks: SOEs (Protecting NZ’s Strategic Assets) Bill

State-Owned Enterprises and Crown Entities (Protecting New Zealand’s Strategic Assets) Amendment Bill
Speech by ACT Leader John Banks
Wednesday, August 29 2012

I rise on behalf of the ACT Party to oppose this bill.

The bill begins with an own goal.

The explanatory note tells us that:

‘Once a State enterprise or entity has been omitted from [the Act], a shareholding Minister may sell… …the enterprise or company. Future Parliaments would thereby be limited in their ability to reverse such changes.’

Parliament is already limited in its ability to buy and start businesses because the people know that it’s a bad idea.

The only reason the left need this legislation is because deep down they know governments running businesses doesn’t make sense.

They know that if the government didn’t own the businesses it owns today, they couldn’t justify buying or starting them.

They need this legislation because they can’t defend public ownership on the evidence.

Over the last three decades over 100 countries have engaged in privatisation.

They have collectively transferred over 2 trillion dollars worth of assets from the public to the private sector.

These have been studied to death.

There have been studies of the studies.

The Jury is in. Private enterprise runs business better than government can.

But sadly we don’t hear rational evidence based policy from the Labour Party like we used to.

The Labour Party, in the electorate of Waimakariri, used to have a man called Mike Moore.

Recently, Moore wrote:

‘What's the common denominator in success and failure?'

'Open economies always do better. Trade and competition drive up results and help to combat corruption, as well as allocate resources more efficiently. Private ownership, spread through society, works.’

That’s the quality of thinking that the Labour Party used to have in Waimakariri. In tune with the evidence, they used to say that private enterprise makes sense.

When I look at Bills like today’s it’s little wonder that the good people of Waimakiriri have elected a solid National Party representative – Kate Wilkinson, the Minster of Labour -- for the first time in the seat’s history.

The ACT Party opposes this bill for the simple reason that if governments running businesses made sense, the bill would not be necessary.


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