Wira Gardiner has taken on a lot of difficult jobs for governments of all hues, but I think hitting the road to sell ditching the Treaty of Waitangi clause from any new legislation for assets to be sold is going to be his most difficult task.
It seems the government regard the Treaty clause as it is currently contained in the State Owned Enterprises Act that covers the companies on the block will be an impediment to sale. Pesky Treaty getting in the way of National’s plan to sell off our future! The easy response from the government of course is to just get rid of it.
This is going to cause major ructions among Maori, and rightly so. Another question for the government to answer is what will happen to the “social responsibility” clause that also governs SOEs?
an organisation that exhibits a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so
Will it survive in the new legislation for the assets that are being sold?
If it goes its clearer than ever that these sales are in fact privatisation. The rhetoric about the government keeping control of the assets is empty if the legislation that will govern them removes the protections that give all New Zealanders confidence that the assets are working in the best interests of the country. These will simply be private companies acting without reference to providing a social good for all of us.
These hui will be fascinating. Morgan Godfrey has already noted that support seems to be dwindling among iwi. I know for sure we will be putting pressure on National in Parliament and in the community to stop the sales. Interesting times indeed.