The mask slipped briefly on Cunliffe yesterday.
““if the Government is going to sell off precious state assets then we would not rule out re-nationalising some of them. And people need to be aware of that regulatory risk.””
Today he is back-pedalling a lot:
““At no time have I said that would have to be a forced re-nationalisation and at no time have I ever said that would be without compensation. Nor have I said that was something we would have to do, I’m just saying we have to look at future circumstances as they arise and we couldn’t rule it.””
Yet we know that the real Labour sits with the first statement – that nationalization is good and that it would be at the risk of investors. We know this because it is Labour that re-nationalized Air New Zealand after destroying it by refusing to allow it to be sold to Singapore Airlines. We know because it was Cullen who bought a defunct railroad at vastly inflated prices. We know because Labour seriously damaged share value time and again by interfering in the market. And, finally, we know because a brief glance at the left wing blogs tells you that the remark resonated heavily with them, particularly with the denizens of the Standard and with the Idiot at NRT.
The mask has slipped and the socialist underneath has bared its teeth. The attempt to destroy the value of asset sales was flagrant and amounts to economic vandalism. Small wonder that Cunliffe had no choice but to back track rapidly. He ran the risk of frightening off every investor in a 10,000km radius, including all the ones in New Zealand. Why invest in something that you hope will build in value only to have the government take it back -usually at a bargain basement price (unless you own a train set!)? One of New Zealand’s prime assets is a relatively benign, stable political environment and Mr. Cunliffe has very nearly screwed that up.
But then again, the left has always excelled at economic vandalism.