Kapi-Mana News : June 14th 2011
16 KAPI-MANA NEWS, JUNE 14, 2011 OPINION Better qualifications = Better jobs = More money!! www.pei.ac.nz Enquire Today PH: 0800 22 55 97 Te Wahi Akonga Dream it - Live it We offer a range of courses including: Business Administration & Computing Small Business Management MYOB® Training PracTESOL® (Teach English to speakers of other languages) Learn new skills in your own home at your own pace. MEAT WEEK 13th June - 19 June 2011 A WIDE RANGE OF PRIME CUT PRICES Slogan not reassuring TALKING POLITICS GORDON CAMPBELL One for Mum, Dad Political slogans convey the essence of an era as readily as a favourite song or a fashion statement. Buzzwords like Think big or Wage and price freeze instantly evoke the bygone era of Sir Robert Muldoon, and his fantasies of command and control. Similarly, the slogans of 1980s economic reform such as There is no alternative and Level playing field sought to convey that a bold new era of optimism, fairness and oppor- tunity had dawned for the voting public -- although, alas, only the fortunately placed few were ultimately able to reap the bulk of the economic rewards on offer. Ever since, it has been quite striking how New Zealand s pol- itical sloganeering has tried to reassure the public, rather than inspire it. Jim Bolger s so-called Decent society , Helen Clark s trademark Working for famil- ies package and the current Government s invocation of Mum and dad investors have been variations on the same theme. No threats, no visions, but instead, a promise of stability, support and continuity. Repeatedly, the political message to a gun-shy public has been that this time, this Government is on their side -- and is not going prey on them, or steal their wallets. On Budget Day last month, much was made of the legions of mum and dad investors who would apparently enjoy pride of place when it came to options on newly privatised state assets. Leave aside that those same mums and dads already own the energy company assets being readied for the auction block. As for Air New Zealand, taxpayers have already bought our national airline twice. Regardless, the privatisa- tions have been packaged as a rare investment opportunity. That particular vision seems to be unravelling in almost record time. Last week, Finance Minister Bill English was warning the same mums and dads that if they didn t invest as planned, there were plenty of Asian investors likely to be more than willing. He told a Waikato business audience: We are saying that New Zea- landers are at the front of the queue, but if not enough of them show up, it won t be 49 per cent [being held by foreigners] . . . Simultaneously, Treasury acting secretary Gabriel Makh- louf called for New Zealand to be more open to foreign cash, and to either scrap its current regulatory screening of foreign investment entirely, or keep it at a minimum. Interestingly, the Budget small print (page 23 of the investment statement sup- plement) set out several ways the Government could ensure New Zealanders would be kept at the front of the queue -- up to and including hard ownership restrictions and quotas on foreign ownership. However, the Budget docu- ment noted: No final decisions will be taken on the precise arrange- ments that will apply until the results of detailed scoping studies have been considered. Evidently, a key plank in this year s election campaign -- and a source of the $5 billion to $7b bounty on which one third of social spending until 2016 will be based -- is relying on options for which the scoping studies haven t even been completed. Clearly, the role of the much- celebrated mum and dad investors is still a work in progress. As with most political slogans, the term seems to con- ceal as much as it conveys.
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