From the New Zealand Herald this morning the real story of the government’s intentions around the treaty clause and asset sales. It seems a draft version of the consultation document was accidentally put on-line.
It showed the Government’s original intention was not to include any Treaty clause at all in the new legislation covering the mixed-ownership model. On Tuesday morning, a sentence was deleted which said the Government was yet to form a final view “but, on balance, favours no Treaty clause”.
Not sounding much like an ‘elegant’ way through as the PM suggested. More like an awkward bulldozer. No wonder the Maori Party were so angry. And in terms of why, well, you heard it here first folks.
The draft also revealed that the main “harm” the Government considered would come from using section 9 was that it would put off institutional investors. It said those investors would not understand it, which would “create uncertainty and have a negative effect on investment in the companies”.
That’s right, follow the money.
And more generally the government’s claims about still having control over the assets are further undermined by another deleted paragraph.
The draft document shows other politically sensitive paragraphs were also deleted at the last minute – including references to the limited powers ministers would have over mixed-ownership-model companies, despite the Government’s majority shareholding, and the aim of the policy being to run them as private firms.
This is privatisation, pure and simple. Core infrastructure assets built up over generations by New Zealanders, currently owned by all New Zealanders are no longer going to be there for us. The handling of the Treaty clause has been a debacle but none of this should shift attention from the real process here- the loss to all of us of our assets.