NZ POLITICS DAILY: Asset sales - where National went wrong
National lost the public debate on asset sales a long time ago, but it pushes forward regardless.
Surely if the government could turn back the clock it would not bother going down the path of partial privatisation at all. After all the whole exercise has turned out to be so fraught.
This was emphasied yesterday by John Armstrong’s column, National has failed to conquer foreign ownership bogey, in which he intelligently outlines all the ways in which National has lost its way on the issue.
- Guyon Espiner’s Interview with John Key in this weeks’ Listener is well worth a read.
- ACC continues to be a political hot potato. Patrick Gower reports that "the ACC-Bronwyn Pullar privacy scandal has now claimed its sixth casualty" – see: Sixth ACC casualty as board member leaves. But the bigger policy debate continues, especially with an excellent backgrounder by Colin James explaining how the ambiguities and different political perspectives on what the scheme should be for has led to recent controversies – see: ACC's unresolved policy paradox. And now the whole question of whether ACC should be a pay-as-you-go-scheme versus a fully funded scheme seems to be back on the agenda, as discussed in Vernon Small’s ACC changes could return $1b to workers, the Dominion Post editorial, Don't discard good with bad, and the Press editorial, Reforming ACC.
- Yesterday was World Refugee Day, and so the Race Relations and Human Rights Commissioner Joris de Bres made atimely critique of the Immigration Amendment Bill before Parliament – see: Refugee detention plan threat to NZ's good name.
- Is New Zealand complicit in slavery? The latest US State Department report says so – see Michael Field’s NZ slammed in US 'slavery' report.
- Following on from the "Wellington Declaration" signed in 2010, today the New Zealand Government is signing the "Washington Declaration" with the US. This all signals the much closer defence relations with the US as well as the US’s much greater interest in the Pacific – see Audrey Young’s New Zealand, US to sign new defence pact.
- Diplomatic relations between Britain and New Zealand became slightly frosty this week after British High Commission's First Secretary, Tony Clemson, published a critical opinion piece in the Dominion Post: New Zealand too slow on green growth. The prime minister has described this as "bad manners" and questioned whether diplomats should be engaged in such domestic political activities – see John Hartevelt’s British diplomat ticked off for criticising NZ.
- Finally, the online Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Te Ara is today launching its latest section: Government and Nation, which contains a wealth of excellent entries that will be of great use and interest to politicos. I’ve even contributed one of these: Elections and Campaigns. All the entries are written by experts in their fields, and include a variety of vibrant and fascinating images and media. Highlights of the new Government and Nation section include entries such as Stephen Levine’s Political values, Kate McMillan’s Media and politics, Jennifer Curtin and Raymond Miller’s Political parties, Peter Aimer’s Labour Party, Colin James’ National Party, John E Martin’s Parliament, Richard Shaw’s Public service, Raymond Miller’s Interest groups, Peter Clayworth’s Intelligence services and Prisons, Basil Keane’s Māori protest movements, Mark Derby’s Conscription, conscientious objection and pacifism, Ben Schrader’s Public buildings, Housing and government and Public protest, and Jock Phillips’ Visitors’ opinions about New Zealand.