Roger, Roger... We have clearance, Clarence. What’s our vector, Victor?
In the same week that a long-lost script for a sequel to the ET movie surfaced, and Airplane! was voted the funniest comedy ever, we’ve seen an interesting sequel unfold in the real world.
That sequel is about to play out here in NZ politics, and some people with selective memories don’t recall the original. And arguably, a comedy. But that’s not important right now.
“Asset Sales Part Two” is not really an original plot by the National Party. There were pilot episodes, although hastily produced, by previous administrations.
Minister for State Owned Enterprises, Tony Ryall, points out that asset sales are not a new storyline for this country.
“Remember when Labour sold New Zealand Steel to Equiticorp for $327 million?” asks the Minister. “This 1988 sale was pushed through Parliament under urgency.”
“Remember when Labour sold Petrocorp to Rossport Investments in 1988 for $801 million? Again, rushed through under urgency.
Remember when Labour sold Post Office Bank to ANZ Banking Group in 1989 for $665 million? – again approved under urgency – and no select committee hearings.
Remember when Labour sold off Air New Zealand under urgency for $660 million to Brierley’s (65 per cent), and overseas airline companies Qantas (19.9 per cent), American Airlines (7.5 per cent) and Japan Airlines (7.5 per cent)?
Remember when – also in 1989 – Labour sold off Shipping Corp to ACT (NZ) Ltd? This $33.5 million sale was again pushed through under urgency – with no select committee process.
And remember – again in1989 – Labour sold Rural Banking Finance to Magneton Holdings for over half a billion dollars?
In just three years, Labour sold over 15 state assets for almost $10 billion to the highest bidders.
Who voted for these asset sales without telling the public about their plans at the previous election?
Phil Goff. Annette King. Trevor Mallard. And the rest of the Labour Party.
The same people who are now criticising the National Government’s mandated, long signalled, partial share offer to New Zealanders.”
Here at RR we couldn’t help seeing the irony of the greatest critics of current asset sale plans being the same people clipping the ticket during the last round.
Here at RR headquarters, we’re a bit perplexed about Labour banging on that National doesn’t have a mandate. It was made pretty clear before the election that Nats were planning a garage sale – and only 49 per cent at that. Seemed like a pretty clear mandate to me.
The last time Labour had a mandate was when Chris Carter took his boyfriend overseas. And we all paid for that man date. Then there was a succession (careful to read that as one word) of Labour man dates that left us wondering: perhaps if the Labour men had been putting as much thrust into their political duties instead of racking up huge costs of dirty weekends at taxpayer expense, we might have had a better result for the country.
No wonder ET phoned home – and stayed there.