The Privatisation Agenda

Keep Our Assets <>Public Meeting Christchurch 

Keep Our Assets-Christchurch is a recently formed coalition of political parties, unions and activist groups (the members are listed here), which is campaigning to keep publicly owned assets in public ownership, both at the national and Christchurch level. This public meeting is part of that campaign. The speakers will be:

  • Bill Rosenberg, from Wellington, the Economist and Policy Director for the NZ Council of Trade Unions (CTU). He will be speaking about privatisation and asset sales at the national level
  • Marty Braithwaite, the CTU’s Christchurch spokesperson on earthquake-related matters. He will be speaking about the threat to Christchurch’s publicly owned assets.
  • Sharna Butcher, who organised the July march and rally in Christchurch against asset sales. She will be speaking on behalf of Keep Our Assets-Christchurch.


The Government is brazenly stealing public assets and laughing
in our faces by urging “mum and dad” to buy back a little. 
A person who takes something that doesn’t belong to him is a thief; and a person who tries to sell you something that is not his to sell is a con man. Even more so if he is trying to sell you back a little bit of your own property which he has stolen from you. That really is adding insult to injury. The Government is brazenly stealing public assets, namely five State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) - all sugar coated as “the mixed ownership model”, because it is only stealing 49% of them - and laughing in our faces by urging “mum and dad” to buy back a little bit of this stolen property in the form of shares. Forget Nigerian scams; this is the much worse New Zealand scam.

No matter how much the Government tarts it up; the glaringly obvious fact is that “mum and dad” already own these five SOEs, and all other public assets, because that’s what public ownership is. You don’t need a Harvard MBA to work that out. We have paid for them by our taxes, why should we be expected to pay for them again by buying a few shares in them? That’s simple enough for even a Treasury official or a Cabinet Minister to understand – which is why they’re going to such lengths to disguise that fact. We will be dazzled by 24 carat bullshit to persuade us to “look over there while we pick your pocket”.

In the finest traditions of disaster capitalism the political and Big Business cheerleaders of privatisation are demanding that Christchurch’s Council-owned assets be flogged off to pay for the huge cost of quake recovery and, not coincidentally, to line their pockets. If they’re flogged off, the city will be left without the major income stream generated by these assets and ratepayers will be left to shoulder the disproportionate burden of greatly increased rates. Christchurch provides a very clear warning of the perils of privatisation. Some things are just too big and important to be left to “the market”, and disaster recovery must be a core function of the State. For all EQC’s shortcomings, the situation would be a damned sight more dire without it; imagine if we were entirely at the mercy of the insurance transnational corporations, who are playing hardball and holding the city, and the whole country, to ransom.

Our message is clear. Keep our assets, both those that belong to the people of New Zealand and those which belong to the people of Christchurch!

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