Putting the merits of the sale plan aside for a moment, Key’s transparency is to be applauded. He said he would not sell off assets without the voters having their say, and they will get it, likely in November.
It is also heartening to see the Government doing something to put the brakes on its borrowing and to stimulate the moribund economy. Apart from the long overdue reining in of state sector costs, National has until now appeared to be indecisive and lacking ideas on how to help spark a recovery.
Of course, the moves are not a panacea, but they are a start. Upwards of $8 billion is expected to be raised in the sales and that money will go towards reducing our debt and into other infrastructure. They will prove a major boon for the sharemarket, with new listings just what the Capital Markets Development Taskforce says was needed to fire up the NZX.
As commentators have said repeatedly in the days since the announcement, the opportunity for mums and dads to invest in solid businesses that we know will continue to generate sizeable profits is likely to appeal to those burned by finance company collapses that have flushed away billions of dollars of savings.
With the Government guaranteeing to keep majority ownership, the biggest obstacle to sell-offs has been removed and there are more reasons to welcome the moves than to oppose them.
So the HoS supports the policy, what about the politics?
Key’s personal rating, however, should have been enhanced by the moves this week. He has been a populist leader so far in his first term and has been reluctant to rock the boat.
We have now seen strong, decisive leadership. That, more than the sales themselves, should be the most comforting aspect of the political week.
I agree.Tags: editorials, Herald on Sunday, John Key, privatisation