May 28, 2008

Wellington Behind Closed Doors: Fran O'Sullivan Gives Us A Peek

How has ideology cost us the chance to buy back the railways for a net $0? And why was Treasury not involved in negotiating the Toll purchase? Who was?

The answer seems to be that Cullen - working through his senior official Chris McKenzie - is in the box seat. Ontrack has a raft of consultants: PricewaterhouseCoopers - Brian Roche, Rob Cameron and Russell McVeagh are in the frame, according to Cullen's office.


We agree fully with the point of Fran's article

The point is to ram home the absurdity of Governments wedding themselves to a "don't sell" position out of sheer political blindness.

We think that partial sell downs of SOEs is sensible policy. Not only will it free extra billions for essential infrastructure investment, it will open the SOEs to healthy scrutiny by the analysts. Air New Zealand has clearly benefited from this scrutiny. Other majority state owned enterprises should be run on similar lines. Sure, Government can keep control but 51% of the shares are all that are needed to do this. It is a great shame that National's policy for the first three years of office - should it make it - is almost as dumb as Labour's.