So about those asset sales

Labour are pushing their line about asset sales hard out. By John Armstrong has pointed out the obvious flaw in their plan:

Labour’s private member’s bill has about as much chance of becoming law as Namibia has of lifting the Rugby World Cup. Probably even less.

It will need something close to a miracle even to make it onto Parliament’s playing field this side of November’s election.

That is because Labour sees their number priority this election cycle as stopping students from having the same rights as everyone else does in choosing wheter or not they belong to a union, more to the point they wish to use up as much legislative time as possible opposing a private members bill from Heather Roy.

Priorities? Yeah it’s got me stuffed too.

It is here the problems start. First, the bill has to be lucky enough to be drawn in the irregular ballot of private member’s bills. At last count there were 24 other competing bills in the ballot.

As Labour’s opponents point out, the order paper is now clogged with 11 private member’s bills at various stages of debate because Labour has been filibustering an Act bill promoting voluntary membership of student unions.

The killer blow, however, is the provision in the 1995 rewrite of Parliament’s standing orders that any requirement for a 75 per cent majority for altering or removing something must itself get a 75 per cent majority to become entrenched.

To top things off, were the bill to hurdle that obstacle and become law, a future National-led Government could still repeal it with a simple 50 per cent-plus majority.

Labour are just sabre rattling but the problem is the blade fell off a long time ago. All they have is a scabbard, albeit a rusty one and a broken hilt.

But more to the point history shows that when it comes to asset sales and the record of the current Prime Minister vs. the man who would be Prime Minister,?head to head only one Party Leader has a track record of selling assets.

His career average is a pretty solid 17 assets that sold for $9,490,000,000.

That party leader is the MP for Mt Roskill, and the most experienced asset seller in the New Zealand parliament, Phil Goff.

Treasury handily provides all the evidence.

State Asset Sales 1988 – 1999

List of assets sold by Labour government between 1984 and 1990 

List of state assets sold by National government from 1990-1999
Asset Year Value (millions of dollars) Asset Year Value (millions of dollars)
NZ Steel 1988 $327.2 Timberlands 1992 $366
Petrocorp 1988 $801 Export Guarantee Office 1993-1996 $19.7
Health Computing Service 1988 $4.25 Government Supply Brokerage 1992 $3.2
Development Finance Corporation 1988 $111.2 Housing Corp Mortgages 1991-1999 $2384
Post Office 1989 $665 Taranaki Petroleum Mining Licences 1992 $118.8
Shipping Corp 1989 $33.5 Bank of NZ 1992 $849
Air New Zealand 1989 $660 NZ Rail 1993 $328.1
LandCorp 1989 $76.9 Government Printing (II) 1993 $18.5
Rural Banking Finance 1989 $550 Wrightsons Rights 1993 $3.45
Government Printing 1990 $20 Fletcher Challenge shares 1993 $418
National Film Unit 1990 $2.5 GCS 1994 $46.9
Communicate NZ 1990 $.6 Airports, including Wgtn and Auckland 1996-1998 $559.8
State Insurance 


1990 $735 Maori Development Corp 1996 $20.9
Tourist Hotel Corporation 1990 $71.8 Radio Company 1996 $89
NZ Liquid Fuels, Maui Gas and Syngas 1990 $257 Forestry Corp 1996 $1,600
Telecom 1990 $4250 Works and Development Services 1996 $108
Forestry Cutting Rights 1990 $925 Capital Properties 1998 $59.7
Contact Energy (sale and float) 1999 $2331
Vehicle Testing NZ 1999 $19.2
Total value: $9,490 $9,343.5

These statistics do not show the sell off of Housing NZ state houses. Labour will say that they were surplus to requirement but the fact remains that they were an asset that they flogged off too. The value of those would probably add another billion onto Labour’s total.

Phil Goff was in Cabinet between 1984 and 1990 (Minister of, variously, Housing, Employment, Youth Affairs, Tourism, and Education). Annette King was elected to Cabinet in 1989 and had responsibility for Employment, Immigration, and Youth Affairs.

When Labour talks about asset?sales?and what National did, then know with?certainty?that Labour are hands down winners of the asset sales crown and any talk otherwise is more lies from the mouth of Phil Goff.