The Finance and Expenditure Select Committee has begun hearing submissions on the legislation that will underpin the government's mixed asset model of ownership for selected SOE's. Totally unsurprisingly, the majority of the submitters oppose the policy. We say "unsurprisingly", because generally those in support of a policy just let the government get on with it. But the Dom-Post reports:
The Government has been accused of treachery during emotive pleas for it to dump its plans to partially sell state-owned assets.Parliament's finance and expenditure select committee yesterday began hearing some of the almost 600 submissions it received on legislation to enact the Government's controversial mixed- ownership model.The Government plans to sell up to 49 per cent of Mighty River Power, Genesis and Meridian, and further reduce its shareholding in Air New Zealand, although it does not need to pass new laws to sell shares in the airline.People Power Ohariu was formed after last year's election to convince UnitedFuture leader and MP for Ohariu Peter Dunne to vote against the bill.Mr Dunne has the deciding vote. If he and ACT leader John Banks support it, the Government has the numbers to pass legislation by 61 votes to 60.
So what do we know of People Power Ohariu? DPF has been doing some digging:
United Future’s policy was very clearly known before the election and Peter Dunne got re-elected on it.
Her voice breaking and close to tears, People Power Ohariu spokeswoman Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati told the committee the sales were “nothing less than treachery”.That is an unusual name. Presumably the same person who is a Mana Party activist.
“It is absolutely ludicrous that in our country a group of 61 people can make decisions that have serious, serious, implications for our country and our children’s future and our land.”
And it is interesting to see how she thinks it is treason to announce a policy 10 months before an election, have it as the most contested issue of the election, and have parties than supported it gain 61 out of the 121 seats.
And the implications for the children’s future and the land is just ridiculous hyperbole. My God, its some minority shares in some power companies. Contact Energy got wholly sold off in 1998 and the world didn’t end. In fact, barely anyone noticed.
People Power Ohariu spokesman John Maynard said it was particularly concerned about the Trans Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement being negotiated among New Zealand, the United States and at least eight other countries.This is the John Maynard that Whale pointed out was President of the Postal Workers Union of Aotearoa.
It's clear that People Power Ohariu is little more than opposition activists dressed up in neutral clothing. And we reckon that is rather sneaky, if not downright dishonest.
Last year's election was a contest on asset sales. The Stop Asset Sales campaign was central to Labour's whole campaign, and there were as many asset sales billboards around last year as there were Labour Party ones. And we all know what happened on 27 November; Labour salumped to its worst MMP result, and National received the highest MMP party vote.
The Left continues to complain that John Key does not have a mandate for the mixed ownership model. We reject that. We reckon that John Key had his mandate the moment he was able to advise the Governor General that he could form a government. Being a minority government did not stop Helen Clark from her legislative programme between 1999 and 2008, including some serious constitutional reform.