New Zealand's leading business lobbyists tread a fine line as they publicly amp up their anger at being "ambushed" by the Opposition parties' plan to intervene in the electricity market.
It's blatantly obvious that Labour and the Greens have been attempting to short the returns the National-led Government expects to receive through next week's Mighty River Power float.
Despite referendums, court actions and now their attempt to undercut the Government's first power company float through their announcement they will slash electricity prices if they take power, it hasn't stopped the listing.
There certainly are genuine business concerns at the precedent the two parties have set by their announcement to set up NZ Power to constrain electricity market prices, without even discussing the proposed and complex policy with key players.
But tilting at the style of the political intervention and asking the two parties to withdraw their interventionist plan is a waste of space. Not because of their own rationale in doing so (this was soundly based). But because Labour leader David Shearer and Greens leader Russel Norman don't give a damn about such requests at the midway point of the electoral cycle.
Fran O'Sullivan is right on the money. David Shearer and Russel Norman don't give a stuff about the economic damage that they are doing. Their sole intention in announcing the NZ Power proposal when they did was to undermine the Mighty River Power sale process.
The Labour/Green tactic was economic sabotage; there is no other way to describe it. Political gain was placed ahead of New Zealand's economic success.
What is even worse though is the affront to democracy. New Zealand went to the polls in November 2011. National laid out its plans for a mixed ownership model of SOE's. Labour and the Greens campaigned strongly against asset sales. The public voted.
The moment after the election when John Key was able to go to the Governor-General with the news that he could form a government was the moment that National had its mandate to implement the policies it campaigned on. It's not as if asset sales suddenly appeared from nowhere; Key and National were absolutely transparent about their intentions.
Since then we have seen Labour and the Greens manipulate the Citizen Initiated Referendum process by throwing their taxpayer-funded resources at an attempt to re-litigate the 2011 General Election result. That having failed to stop the Government doing exactly what it was elected to do, they have resorted to this latest cheap shot.
As we have said before, MMP isn't perfect, but it is the system of democracy that New Zealanders (including the Greens and Labour) have chosen. That the Greens and Labour are so bitter about the result that a democratic election under MMP dished up is telling.
As we close, we note that there will be an estimated $400m shortfall on returns from the MRP sale. The Government will have to make economies elsewhere in its books to cover this. So we would like to respectfully suggest that the first place where the Government needs to make economies is in the taxpayer funding of political parties; somewhere in the region of 33%, and applying to ALL political parties. By all means enable them to campaign, but make them do it on their own coin, not yours and ours.