05 March 2008

Bill English says "Like Labour, National...."

That's right, the Greens set the agenda, Labour follows and National? It just nods.
Well why should I be surprised? After Sue Kedgley’s rant, Michael Cullen listens and what does the Opposition spokesman on Finance do? Bill English basically agrees there is a problem with foreigners (shock horror) owning a majority of shares in Auckland airport (and undefined “strategic assets”), the only difference is he doesn’t think the facts are the way Cullen says.

His criticism is NOT that it is ok to interfere with private property rights, no. He happily cheerleads on the Overseas Investment Commission and its pointlessness. His criticism is that there is no evidence that the Canadian Pension Fund wanted control of the airport (presumably if they did, well it would be a different story wouldn’t it?). Which of course means that we “shouldn’t be afraid”. As if there is anything to be afraid of, except for the paranoid delusional conspiracy theorists who usually reside at NZ First, the Alliance and the Greens.

English’s first press release said “National believes that local control of taxpayer-owned strategic assets is important”. A bizarre tautology if ever there was one. How the hell would it not be locally controlled if it was taxpayer owned?

Then his second press release said "Like Labour, National believes retaining the control of strategic assets is important”. Who retaining control Bill? What are strategic assets? Most importantly, why?

What the hell was going to happen? The entire Wellington city bus fleet was foreign owned for over a decade, along with the major Auckland bus fleet. One of the two major cellphone networks is entirely foreign owned, as is the second major telecommunications company, and the second and third airlines. The second and third major television companies are predominantly foreign owned, as is the dominant pay TV operator, and the majority of commercial radio stations. New Zealand is entirely dependent upon foreign owned motor vehicle manufacturers. Almost all sugar and oil comes from foreigners too, as do pharmaceuticals.

So when the election comes, and you are tempted to tick National for your party vote remember Bill English saying “Like Labour”. Ask yourself if you want National to govern alone when it picks up its political philosophy from the Greens, and tick a party that doesn’t.
UPDATE: Stuff says National wont block the airport sale - but well, that is only if it is on a minority shareholding basis. It reports John Key saying "If it's a majority ownership it's a very different situation". So in other words John Key agrees with Sue Kedgley - simple as that. If you want Green party policy on foreign investment, vote National!

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