Mixed Ownership Model Bill - Second Reading
MANA Leader and Member of Parliament for Tai Tokerau
Thursday 14 June 2012
Mr Speaker - the agenda of this government is now clear for all to see - assets, services and resources currently being managed by this government for the benefit of the citizens of this country will be sold to the highest bidder, many of whom will be overseas companies who have no interest in the Treaty of Waitangi, or the people of this country, be they Maori or Pakeha.
1 Twenty years ago, when National decided that ELECTRICITY would no longer be regarded as an essential service, the industry was deregulated and households started paying more for their power than big business;
2 Today, WELFARE services are being privatised and government is wiping its hands of its responsibilities to provide for its most vulnerable citizens;
3 EDUCATION continues to be privatised through the introduction of charter schools, and the continued funding of private schools, at the expense of public education for the children of ordinary New Zealanders;
4 Access to HEALTH is being denied to the poor by ever-increasing costs, while the country leads the developed world in third world diseases;
5 ACCIDENT COMPENSATION is being denied to victims by complex and costly processes and bad management, as government prepares to privatise ACC;
6 CORRECTIONS is getting a brand new billion dollar jail, but the rights to run it have already been sold off to an overseas company;
7 State HOUSING is being sold off to the private sector while homelessness reaches record levels;
8 And WATER management and water rights have already been privatised by government in different parts of the country;
But the really surprising thing to me, is how long it has taken us to wake up to the fact that selling off resources and assets and services built up by generations of New Zealanders will leave our children and our mokopuna with a future almost too bleak to contemplate.
And yet such is the future that this bill and this government, offers us all.
Mr Speaker, MANA opposes this bill to sell off 49% of the shares in Mighty River, Meridian, Genesis and Solid Energy, because:
- There are no provisions to guarantee NZers will get preferential treatment or even a dedicated percentage of the shares;
- There are no provisions stopping overseas companies from bidding for a majority of the shares in the new companies;
- There are no provisions requiring the government to protect the interests of New Zealand citizens, to regulate the price to New Zealand consumers, or to guarantee supply to New Zealand citizens over business interests;
- There are no provisions to require the new companies to honour Treaty obligations, even though the government is still the majority shareholder;
- And there are no provisions to ensure Maori interests in water will be protected (in fact, government's opposition to the New Zealand Maori Council's application to have those interests considered by the Waitangi Tribunal, shows just how much contempt this government has for Maori people and how much disregard it has for its coalition partner the Maori Party);
Mr Speaker, government is clearly committed to its plan to push ahead with the sale of state assets, but I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who have taken a stand against this bill, and there have been many, including:
- the 1500 people who made submissions to Select Committee, the overwhelming majority of which were opposed;
- the tens of thousands who joined the "Aotearoa is Not for Sale" march from Te Rerenga Wairua to Parliament last month;
- Grey Power and the Students Associations, an unlikely mix brought together by a hugely unpopular bill;
- The New Zealand Maori Council and those iwi doing their best to stop government's "sell the assets and to hell with the people" agenda;
- And the Unions, the Labour Party, the Greens, New Zealand First and MANA who attended the launch, and have all committed people to gathering the 300,000 signatures required for a referendum on stopping asset sales;
And let me also take this opportunity to urge those same groups to redouble our efforts, because once those shares have been sold and once those companies have been privatised, investor demands for an ever increasing return, courtesy of higher power prices, will force more of our old people to switch off their hot water to save power, lead to even greater sickness in cold and damp homes as poor families are forced to cut back on heating, light and refrigeration, and reduce this nation to a level of servitude our children simply do not deserve.
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