Why We March
The current New Zealand Government has anounced it will partially sell some of our public assets the Government holds on behalf of all New Zealanders.
These are some the last remaining profit-making State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), organisations like the three electricity companies (Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy, Genesis) , Solid Energy and Air NZ.
They have also signalled a move towards the further privatisation of important public utilities that remain in public hands for reasons, other than profit, that private enterprises cannot fulfil, like ACC, prisons, roads, schools, state housing (water and hospitals in the future).
Adding to the Government’s privatisation agenda they are also aggressively pushing for increased mining. Large areas of land are being opened up for oil drilling and mining including conservation land & National Parks, private land, and the foreshore & seabed.
We are organising a march to protest against the current National led Government selling these public NZ assets, as a strong way of showing the National led Government that most kiwis are against these sales and do not want them to go ahead.
The march is on the 28th of April, 2012 at 3PM, starting from Britomart downtown, and continuing up Queen Street.
We believe that these assets should remain in public hands through ownership by the NZ Government. We encourage support this policy and this march because:
- National party is arguing these sales are to repay debt and then on a different day they argue they are for future projects likes schools etc . The real reason is no doubt something else and not good for the average or poor NZer.
- It doesn’t make good business sense. If you dont pay off debt then the cost of owning these SOEs is the cost of the borrowing which is around 4%. Yet the electricity companies return somewhere around 4 times that (14-18%), which is more than the cost of borrowing. No intelligent person would sell assets that generate that much income for this reason alone.
- The amount of debt that will be repaid from asset sales is insignificant. The NZ Government debt is around $80 B, the assets they will sell are worth around $5-10 B depending on what they sell for. National is borrowing $300m per week or about $1.2 B per month so this is only about 5-8 mths of borrowing. This is a short term fix to a long term problem that will never go away.They have been borrowing this way for 3.5 yrs. It would be better to reverse previous bad policies and increase taxes on the wealthy, and have similar tax rates to the better run European countries..
- Our debt is not that high compared to other countries. NZs debt to GDP ratio is 33%. This is lower than any other OECD country. The world average being around 50%. The worst european countries in crises are over 100% !!
- This is the thin edge of the wedge which started in the 1980s and will continue until the public own nothing. National is arguing they are only selling 49% and the NZ Government will hold the majority share. Yet it has just come to light that they possibly intend to sell more than 49%.
- Eventually these “mum and dad” investors will sell to foreign and corporate fund owners for much better share prices. These corporate shareholders will demand that these companies make more profit so services could easily decline or prices rise.
- If the government continues signing Free trade deals like the TPPA they will be giving overseas corporations the right to sue the NZ government if it interfers with their profit drive. This has already happened overseas. These sales will only invite more of that risk here
- These sales are more of the same economic policies that all NZ governments have been following for nearly the last 30 years since the original sell offs in the 1980s.These policiesnot only include privatisation of public assets but also 1) changing the tax burden from the rich to the poor 2) running a low wage economy. This has caused NZ’s economic crises and growing financial inequality (gap between the rich and the poor). This will lead to more unhappiness, hardship and increase in poverty, which is linked to crime and disease.
We believe this march and any long term campaign is of vital interests to all those concerned about social justice.
For this reason most New Zealanders do not agree with these sales. And the National led Government does not have a mandate, only winning 33% of the eligible votes in last year’s election. This important decision should be held by referendum where every voter gets their say.
We envisage a large peaceful march of well over 10,000 people and families, with speakers followed by some light DJ music.
We are attempting to get as many mainstream people and groups involved and make this a broad coalition campaign of political parties and groups that oppose these and future asset sales.
This march has been endorsed by Auckland Unions, Mana, Greenpeace, the Green Party and the Labour Party.
Russell Norman and Hone Harawira have confirmed they will speak, Winston Peters and David Shearer have also been invited to speak, we are just waiting for confirmation.
A hikoi is coming down from Cape Reinga to Wellington stopping in Auckland on the day to join the march up Queen St.
Please confirm if you support the march. Please encourage all you know to attend with you.
If you are on Facebook, join the Aotearoa Is Not For Sale event page and share with all your FB friends.
[Site Admin, posting for MF]