Greens And Granny Herald Subs Stop Potential Port Sale

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Lyndon Hood

This morning I just about choked on my breakfast of lilies and insects as I was reading the New Zealand Herald (online version). The Herald had an article implying that the Ports Of Auckland chairman Gary Judd thought now – as in right in the middle of an economic recession – was the right time to consider privatising the Ports of Auckland.

This news that an economic recession was the right time to get rid of any publicly owned company seemed pretty darn crazy. To me it seemed like the kind of lunacy practiced by those on the economic fringe – say Richard Prebble, Ruth Richardson and Roger Douglas.

Out came the Green Party rightfully concerned that a fire-sale was imminent. The blogosphere was also bemused at the economic idiocy.

“This simply makes no sense. To point out the blindingly obvious, the people of Auckland will not get a good price for their asset by selling it in the middle of a recession. Instead, they’ll get screwed, while the buyer laughs all the way to the bank,” wrote the mysterious Mr No Right Turn.

Some time later in the day I was contacted by Mr Judd’s PR person. There were claims of a media beat-up. I was even sent a letter – which I liked as it was a good source of recyclable protein. Lo and behold when I went to check out the Herald story from this morning it had been updated.

I also understand that Mr Judd may want some sort of acknowledgement in tomorrows’ Herald regarding the fact he is adamant he never called for Auckland’s port to be sold and didn’t suggest that now was the right time for the Ports of Auckland’s privatisation.

I reckon Mr Judd must have been pretty mad at the Herald for making him look like the kind of crazed economic vandal that would flog off a vital piece of economic infrastructure in the midst of a recession. There’s a gang devoted to that sort of hooliganism – the ACT Party – and I hear they meet every second Thursday at the St Mary’s Bay phone booth.

7 Comments Posted

  1. I’m actually a bit in the dark with that one, but you should note that TVNZ is not an SOE, but a crown entity, so your quote about government ownership is not strictly relevant. As per the State Owned Enterprises Act, SOEs have to operate successfully as a business, which TVNZ clearly doesn’t have to do, so there’s a key difference.

    In any case, I don’t really see the point in the government owning businesses, I was just pointing out some things.

  2. “SOEs seem to do allright, what about that model?”

    Remind me how successful TVNZ has been in recent times please.

  3. “keep it for those lovely dividends, probably”

    Except that government ownership tends to breed inefficiency. When bureaucrats are in control, expenses balloon.

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