Cosgrove on assets “has got this badly wrong”

In response to the Supreme Court ruling against the Maori Council Labour leader David Shearer and State Owned Assets Spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove issued a joint press release.

National Must Listen To The People On Asset Sales

The Supreme Court ruling today changes nothing. Yesterday 80% of New Zealanders were against asset sales and today 80% of New Zealanders are against asset sales, say Labour Leader David Shearer and SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.

“National’s plan to flog off our assets is a complete train-wreck. That hasn’t changed. It’s time for the Government to listen to Kiwis.

The 80% claim is dubious. And the Labour caucus doesn’t even listen to it’s own party members so insisting Government listen to ‘Kiwis’ is a bit ironic.

Then Shearer says:

“…electricity demand is predicted to remain flat so selling our energy companies at the bottom of the market is just foolish”

And Cosgrove:

No time is a good time for asset sales. But to sell our assets at rock bottom prices is simply reckless. And who will be the loser in the end? The Kiwi taxpayer. For a man who calls himself a business guru, John Key has got this badly wrong”

Bottom of the market? Rock bottom prices? The share market is doing very well at the moment, that surely is a good time for share floats. Who has got this badly wrong?

And then Cosgrove played the referendum card:

“More than 370,000 New Zealanders have signed a petition to hold a referendum on asset sales. The Government should delay its sales plan until New Zealanders can have their say,” said Clayton Cosgrove.

This morning’s NZ Herald editorial makes this point about the court decision:

Perhaps the most important element of the Supreme Court’s decision is its acceptance of the Crown argument that the courts should ensure there is not “an unwarrantable intrusion into the function of Parliament”.

That refers to the use of court action to try and prevent the Government of the day from progressing policy as decided in Parliament.

This principle could also apply to the ‘citizen initiated’ referendum, which has been driven by the Green and Labour parties as an inter election campaign.

Use by parties of Citizen Initiated Referenda to relitigate failed election campaigns and to try and block legislation passed by Parliament is a new and highly questionable practice.

It looks like “an unwarrantable intrusion into the function of Parliament”.

If the petition/referendum was able to stop the asset policy and legislation from progressing it would set a potentially troubling precedent.

Parliament would become a farce if opposition parties could hold up any legislation by initiating a petition for a referendum.

Who has got this badly wrong?

1 Comment

  1. Darryl

     /  February 28, 2013

    Very well written Pete. Labour/Greens are being just straight out destructive, and I can assure Cosgrove/Shearer/Norman, are not speaking for all of NZ, that is for sure. They are just stopping the Government from progression. It is time they stopped playing games and got on with something constructive. There Mud slinging is boring.
    PS: First thing Labour need to do is get a capable Leader.