Symbolic Mercury Energy Action Rings the Bell for Round Two
Small flash protests were organised in both Wellington and Auckland to coincide with the expected announcement that the Government had passed the Mixed Ownership Model Legislation under urgency. The theme of the Wellington protest was a live auction, with the message, “The National Party is going, going, gone!”
The following video shows the Auckland protest, conducted outside of Mercury Energy on the afternoon of 26 June…
The Auckland protest was timed to occur after the vote, which was expected to pass. By holding it at that time and place, protesters intended to send a dual-message;
First, to make it very clear to the government that the Asset Sales campaign will continue regardless of the vote.
Second, to communicate that the campaign is entering a new phase, with attention widening to encompass the corporations and the investors as well as Parliament.
Public assets, operating efficiently, return a profit to the people through increased government revenues. These revenues are “Socialised Profits” and constitute a kind of “Social Wage”, through either reduced taxes, improved public services or other benefits. Privatised assets however return profits only to shareholders. These are “Privatised Profits”, paid for by the poor.
National’s Neo-Liberal agenda is obvious; “starve the beast”. Tax cuts for the rich reduce revenue. Selling assets reduces revenue further. Soon, there’s no money for social services. Of course there’s always money for defense, tazers, private prisons and militarized, privatised police. These are essential, to protect the elites from any dissidents or “terrorists” who might suddenly spring up at the club or the opera, demanding justice or some such.
It’s thievery by any name, and no mumbled explanations or rubbish about “mum and dad investors” is going to change anything. To make it wash, National plans to spend a token amount from the $6 billion windfall on sprucing up public schools and hospitals. But this expenditure could easily be met by selling bonds instead of assets. Of course selling bonds puts the government in competition with banks, and that wouldn’t do at all.
The ANFS Campaign recognises when the people are being robbed, and the thieves should not expect any consideration. Foreign investors will naturally rely on breezy assurances from the government that everything is under control. So it’s perhaps a kindness that Mana’s leader should let foreign investors know they are stepping into the middle of what promises to be a furious domestic quarrel.
The danger for investors lies in believing that the National Party Government’s so-called “mandate” will be enough to carry them the full 12 Rounds. The reality is, National’s “mandate” is enough to get these Foreign Investors into trouble, but it is not enough to get them out.
There is a lot of anger out there, disguised by good humour and quiet determination. The Mana policy expressed in this video by John Minto is restrained by comparison to some ANFS Coalition Partners.
To be clear, it has always been understood that no amount of street protests would ever be enough to compel National to voluntarily walk away from $6 billion. To stop Asset Sales, National has to go, before too much damage is done.
Removing National is entirely feasible. Especially given that National has accomplished almost nothing except increasing the income gap.. Outside the walls of the Neo-Liberal Gated Community, the Great Recession has been replaced by the Great Stagnation. Power bills, taxes, prices and unemployment all go up, but prospects do not. National must answer for this.
I see a grim future in store for us: come 2014, National will be forced to press the buzzer and go outside, to face the angry mobs in an election. The number of new millionaires created from the feeding frenzy of consultants, lawyers and brokers that is about to descend on us will be staggering. But the ordinary New Zealander will have nothing to show for the time National spent in office, and nothing to show for the $6 billion worth of assets sold. By election time, all the money will be “gone”, just… “gone”. Like bailout money that no one can account for. To add to our troubles, we will have new and frighteningly inflexible foreign Overlords to answer to as well. Every National MP who doesn’t own a house in Hawaii and can’t expect a ticker-tape parade on Wall Street will be facing a hostile and radicalised populace screaming for justice. However not even a parade of orange jumpsuits will be enough to appease them.
Nobody in their right mind would place a dollar bet on National winning a third term under these conditions. That’s probably the only sure thing in all this sorry mess.
In other news, a National Hui is expected to be called after the July 14 Event to iron out ANFS Coalition Policy on these and other matters.
Campaign organisers continue to work on preparations for the July 14 Event and other related actions.