Another Labour policy flop at the Last Chance Saloon


It was advertised as the Labour Party’s last big policy of the election campaign.

We’re getting a lot of this lately, the oversell.

When delivered, however, the plan to set up a $100 million-a-year sovereign wealth fund to invest in “strategic” assets, including clean energy, prompted only a scratching of heads. So small was it in size and so opaque was its intention that Labour’s motive was anyone’s guess. Was it meant to appease Winston Peters? Was it designed to appeal to the Greens? Was it meant for Labour’s left-wingers?

No.  The media was just meant to grab it and whip it into a frenzy of suck-booz-National-you-lose.  None of Labour’s policies are anything but an empty shell.  

Labour says another plank of its policy is to hold the remaining state-owned enterprise assets through “KiwiShare”, a structure intended to make it difficult for future governments to sell them.

This seems like wishful thinking. Any structure could be overturned by any administration that wishes, for whatever reason, to dispose of a state-owned asset.

It would, in fact, be folly to have a blanket KiwiShare when there may, from time to time, be a very strong justification for selling an asset.

This country can boast clean-tech success stories. Governments could aid the emergence of others by laying a cohesive foundation for long-term growth.

But it should not be in the business of investing in what it deems to be a winning sector. That is best left to private investors willing to take on the obvious risks. Or to the Super Fund, which has benefited from not being burdened by a circumscribed area of investment. That, alarmingly, would be denied NZ Inc.

Wishful thinking.  What a brilliant way to sum up the whole of Labour’s campaign.

If they do make it into government, it won’t be cause they did such a great job.  And I see quite some merit in other parties demanding substantial positions in cabinet.

The most fascinating thing will be to see what a new Labour-“led” government would actually present as its policy platform once 4 other parties have negotiated their own positions.

It’s impossible to predict.


– NZ Herald

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