“... washing its hands of responsibility for housing our most vulnerable New Zealanders and it is selling another asset, built up over many years and owned by all Kiwis,” Annette King said.
The only advantage of government owning assets to me is if they generate a profit and as a consequence we all get to pay less tax (mindful that taxes make people poor too.) Yet a look back at history would show the more governments own, the higher taxes go. If assets are owned by a party with access to unlimited, guaranteed funding, then management of them will reflect that reality. They can't fail regardless of inefficiency or poor return. Even not-for-profit enterprise shouldn't operate at a loss. Yet tax-funded enterprises by their very nature are often financial sink-holes. All you own is a liability.
State houses can only be defended as part of wealth redistribution to aid the poor. But as such they feature all the downsides of welfare benefits. They trap and isolate groups of people.
But I will give credit to King. At least she is trying to rekindle a debate with some substance instead of endlessly harping on about 'dirty politics' which is now synonymous with a gaping yawn.
In fact the old pair of hands increasingly looks a better option for Labour than the new. Again last week I heard wannabe leader Andrew Little berating unpopular Labour polices like raising the Super age and a capital gains tax. Voters didn't like them so they didn't like Labour, he says. The guys wishy-washy.
According to polls, a majority of voters didn't like asset sales but they still voted for the party running the policy because on balance, they viewed National as their best option.