The government has failed. They have failed us time and time again. They have failed our education system, from primary school to University, through school mergers, charter schools and cuts to the student loan system. They have failed teachers through Novopay. They have failed the people of Christchurch through their inability to rebuild. They have failed the youth through the changes to wages. They have failed the elderly, the frail, the poor, and all of those who help them through their Carers Act and their reforms. They have made a mockery of Parliament through their farcical urgency sessions. They have failed all of us by breaching our privacy through the GCSB amendments. They have failed all of us in environmental policy. They have failed us all in their inability to control skyrocketing housing prices. They have failed all of us by allowing oil giants into our seas. They have failed us through these, and many more of their actions. And now they have failed us again, not once, but twice through their asset sales scheme.
Tonight it was announced that the partial sale of shares in Meridian had yielded a total of 65,000 buyers. That is just over half of the 116,000 that invested in Mighty River Power, and well under the target of 250,000 buyers predicted by the government to invest in the programme. Adding to this is that these shares sold for about $1.60 each, meaning that only $1.88 billion has been made, while the government needed $2b to meet its targets through the asset sales process. This means that 65,000 people have just taken something that belongs to all of us, and have got it for a steal. Furthermore, the result was announced at 7pm, an oh-so-cynical move designed to stop the disaster being broadcast on the news. What else is a government that will not face its people but a failure?
The asset sales programme was never a popular one, and in a way Labour failed us as well by not providing a viable alternative in 2011. The government faces a referendum at the end of the year, which is likely to indicate that New Zealand collectively opposes the policy. Despite this, John Key has signalled that he won’t listen to the country that elected him, and that the government will continue with the sales. So I ask him this question: will you hear us now? The sales in Mighty River Power failed – the company has just announced a buyback, and now the sales in Meridian have failed before they really even started. It seems that if the sales in Genesis go through they will fail similarly, leaving a multi-billion dollar hole in our economy. Surely this inevitability, combined with the looming referendum will demonstrate to the government that their flagship policy is doomed.
They have refused to listen before, and it has ended in failure. Will they listen now? Don’t hold your breath. But cracks have appeared in the National government armour, and they will pay the price for their failure in 2014.