Yet another commentator slams the government

Brian Fallow: Dangerous move in present climate – 05 Mar 2008 – Politics: New Zealand Political News, Analysis and Comment including 2008 election coverage – NZ Herald

Brian Fallow has joined the chorus of commentators slamming the knee-jerk government actions to intervene in the market to destrroy private property rights.

Effectively the government is telling shareholders that they should be the ones telling them who they can sell to. Apart from the theft of the right to sell that which is yours the Government has done so at a time with very dire implications for the country.

It has changed the rules in the closing minutes of the game.

And it does this reckless thing at the worst possible time.

The country has for 20 years enthusiastically taken advantage of the opportunities globalisation provides to access foreign capital.

Had we not, had we relied on what we ourselves are prepared to save and invest, the economy would be a lot smaller than it is.

We have in effect outsourced saving. Foreign claims on the economy, both debt and equity, are more than a quarter of a trillion dollars. But our ability to tap foreigners’ savings on tolerable terms depends on being, and being seen to be, an open, stable and low-risk investment destination.

It is dangerous for a country up to its nostrils in debt to the rest of the world to tamper with that perception.

And this is the worst possible time to do it. Fear stalks the world’s markets. Investors are hyper-sensitive to risk and putting a high price on it.

Why then introduce a new source of risk to investing in New Zealand: the risk of panicked, poll-driven, ad hoc regulatory intervention of the kind the Government announced on Monday night?

Why has the government waiting over a year before reacting? Why let the CPP expend millions on its proposal when it had no intention of ever letting it proceed?