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Labour’s anti-business rhetoric


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In an earlier post on Labour’s attacks on John Key, under the title Helen Clark practices gutter politics, Adam wrote on some aspects of what Clark had said with regard to Bankers Trust.

Thanks to an article by Audrey Young in today’s NZ Herald, Adam is now able to update those comments.

Adam had assumed that the $39 million profits referred to by Clark were in respect of transaction fees on the NZ Rail sale. According to Ms Young in the Herald:-

Helen Clark revealed that Mr Key was a director of Bankers Trust, a firm that helped the sale of New Zealand Rail in 1993, and made $39 million profit that year. “Members should ask themselves the questions: who benefited from the sale of TranzRail? Mr Key and his friends.”

Mr Key said later he had played no part in the deal and that the profits had been largely generated by his own trading operations section of the firm, not from mergers and acquisitions.

So the profits reviled by Ms Clark were not from Mergers & Acquisitions advice, although nothing wrong in that, but from the activities for which John Key was responsible. Ms Clark was demonstrably wrong on this count.

She revealed also her antipathy to business in general from this remark, through seeking to smear Key for doing his job at Bankers Trust and for Bankers Trust being a successful company.

Audrey Young then noted the attack re Key having owned shares via a trust in TranzRail, which had been disposed of:-

A spokesman for Helen Clark said last night that she accepted Mr Key’s word on the matter but said “the wider point is that he has privatisation in his blood”.

What a stupid remark. Privatisation is not a communicable disease. As far as Adam knows it is not transmitted by contact. It cannot be caught. Yet Clark and her minions and acolytes act as if it is a disease. In fact she is so OTT on this, that Adam half expected her to produce photographs of John Key found sleeping in a coffin and sucking the blood of innocent Kiwis, whilst cavorting with the handmaidens of Dracula. Nonsense, Adam knows but the shrieking harpy performance from Clark engenders these thoughts.

Many governments accept that privatisation can be beneficial.

Indeed, it is possible that more investment would be possible in NZ infrastructure and utilities were a partial privatisation model adopted.

There is nothing evil or wrong in the leader of a political party which is right of centre or indeed for that matter left of centre, accepting or believing that privatisation can be a valid option in some circumstances.

Yet this government has gone out of it’s way to poison the well in the public mind with regard to privatisation, despite the fact that it was the 1984 Labour Government, in which Clark and Cullen both served, which initiated many of the privatisations and SOE formations which provided the transformation which led to the reasonably prosperous period just ended.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that Clark and Cullen prefer an economy where the state holds all the power, because in recent times their approach and rhetoric has been increasingly anti -business as they seek to stoke up distrust and envy of business success and pander to that element in NZ which thinks business ( private enterprise) is a social service which exists by the tolerance of the state, rather than the critical element in society which creates the wealth from which all else flows.

Business in NZ should be very concerned about what the attacks on Key are revealing about this regime, plus the push on the ETS and the fiasco over Auckland Airport, in respect of their real attitude to business.

Cullen has said the election ‘is about a contest for power’, increasingly one is driven to think that it is also about whether one wants an open, free market economy or a reversion to a highly controlled, state determined one.

  1. 03/07/2008 16:41

    Labour has been selling Landcorp farms – but maybe privitisation is only wrong if National does it.


  2. adamsmith1922 permalink*
    03/07/2008 13:37


    Yes, of course practise makes perfect – just kidding and thanks, too long spent working with North Americans where practice is used in both instances


  3. 03/07/2008 13:11

    “In fact she is so OTT on this, that Adam half expected her to produce photographs of John Key to found sleeping in a coffin and sucking the blood of innocent Kiwis, whilst cavorting with the handmaidens of Dracula.”

    Damn, next week’s revelation has been leaked, or perhaps someone’s hacked into the PM’s Office computers. Or perhaps shrieking harpyism is contagious? (Just kidding.)

    PS Practise is the verb, practice is the noun.


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