A couple of months ago Labour announced they would use any means possible to force the shareholders of Pike River to pay damages owed by the company.
Today they’re done similar and have said:
“A Labour government will clean the reef up. We will make the Rena’s owner pay through any means possible.”
That is not a policy. It is a threat or rhetoric posing as a serious statement.
Governments are not tyrants that can wave a wand and force a private company to pay money they are not legally obliged to pay. Regardless of your view on what the owners should do, the reality is Governments can’t force a company to pay money anymore than King Canute can keep back the tide.
The only thing a Government could attempt to do is pass a retrospective law forcing a company to pay money. The precedent of such an act would be hideous, but possible. Is this what Labour is saying it wiil do? If so, they need to come out and be explicit.
Just saying we will make the owner pay through any means possible is not a policy. It isn’t even a promise. It is meaningless rhetoric. If Labour can’t say what specific action they would take to make the owner pay, then their policy is as opaque as their leader’s secret trust fund.