During the Labour reign of 1984 to 1990 under the leadership of Lange, Prebble and Douglas we witnessed an absolute wholesale slaughter of the crown jewels. Sure, it could be argued that Labour was only addressing the mess left from the Muldoon era 'Think Big' but the fact remains that Labour lit the torch on the biggest fire sale in NZ history.
Telecommunications, banking, steel production, railways, printing and forests were all flicked at special 'closing down', never to be repeated prices. The Americans got rich off Telecom, a couple of merchant bankers got rich off railways and one Graeme Hart purchased the Government Printing Office for $23M when it was valued at $70M. Mr Hart went on to become our country's richest person. I bet he votes Labour.
The sale of these assets displaced over 35,000 workers. In fact within 4 years of being sold, Telecom were nearing the top of the share market value tree because they had doubled their profits and halved the work force.
Of course our Dear Leader has come out to denounce this proposal by saying that the selling of state assets would deprive Kiwis of a dividend stream. What the? I don't recall ever receiving a dividend from my friendly government owned power company. In fact the profit from the money you and I pay for electricity goes straight into the consolidated fund to pay for....
I actually agree with what National are saying which is to sell minority interests in SOE's to kiwi 'mum and dads' which will free up some cash for things like tax cuts. At least National are thinking creatively. Next year with the inevitable election year lolly scramble I am sure Labour will dangle the tax cut carrot. Where will the money for tax cuts come from? It will come from that huge cash pile called the consolidated fund which Cullen and co have been growing and hoarding.
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