Labour will introduce a bill preventing the sale of key strategic assets without a clear public mandate, says Labour leader Phil Goff.
Goff said the bill would require any future proposal to partly or wholly privatise a State-owned enterprise or Crown entity to gain support from 75 per cent of Parliament, or from a majority of voters in a referendum.
"Assets like our power companies were built through the blood, sweat and tears of New Zealanders and paid for by Kiwis over generations," Goff said.
"They are not National's to sell."
The National government says it will campaign on selling off a minority stake in state-owned energy companies after the next election.
There are a couple of salient points here. Firstly, this Bill has no prospect whatsoever of seeing the light of day this side of the election. Labour has effectively scuttled the Member's Bill process via its sustained filibustering to prevent progress on Heather Roy's Voluntary Student Membership legislation. Because of Labour's determination to deny tertiary students the freedom of choice as to whether or not they join a Student's Association, there are unlikely to be any more Member's Bills drawn from the ballot before the election.
But where was the mandate between 1984 and 1990? State assets were Labour's to sell then, and sell them they did. Phil Goff may try to rewite history, but it is well-known that he was an acolyte of Sir Roger Douglas in the Rogernomics days, and as a member of Cabinet in the Lange/Palmer/Moore years, he was bound by the convention of collective Cabinet responsibility. And Labour didn't just sell a minority shareholding of state assets; Goff and his mates sold our silverware lock, stock and barrel to the highest bidder.
That makes us suspicious that this move by Labour is nothing but poltical gamesmanship. Nothing can change the fact that the fourth Labour Government went hell-for-leather selling state assets, an event from which Goff now distances himself claiming a Road to Damascus-like change in personal and political philosophy. Phil Goff is entirely the wrong person to be fronting this campaign by Labour.