Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Bassett warns of desperate Labour tricks

A number of New Zealand blogs have picked up on an article written by Dr Michael Bassett, about the "whatever it takes" mentality adopted by the Labour Party in their desperate bid to stay in power. Bassett was a cabinet minister (Health and Local Govt) in the reformist Labour Government of the mid 80's.

Bassett talks about his former Labour cabinet colleagues from 1984-90 period, including Helen Clark, Michael Cullen, and Phil Goff, and how they have abandoned their earlier principles.
In order to rescue the debt-burdened country we had inherited we sold several key assets and paid the money off against debt, thus leaving the government with a smaller interest bill each year. That meant more was available for public investment in health and education...

Helen Clark was then Deputy Prime Minister. She and the rest of us also voted for the establishment of airport companies from the publicly-owned airfields. We all knew at the time that what the Labour government was doing was correct, and in the best long-term interests of the country.

We made those decisions in election year, consciously knowing that not everyone agreed. Once upon a time, Cullen Clark and Goff possessed guts and were driven by principles; they were capable of making the correct decision, not pandering to the views of those who couldn't come to grips with what was in the country's best interests. No longer.
In last week's Herald on Sunday, Bill Ralston pointed out the hypocracy of Cullen's government trying to kill the Canadian Pension Plan's bid for one of our (privately owned) "strategic assets", while at the same time encouraging the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (aka the Cullen Fund) to buy up strategic assets from around the world.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog reports that the NZ Superannuation fund currently owns assets in over 50 countries, including a couple of international airports.

Michael Bassett is scathing of Labour's habit of sinking the "value of privately-held shares in public companies if they perceive any short term political advantage for themselves". He doesn't mince words as he warns this year's election campaign will be one of the dirtiest Labour has even run...
Ministers are playing on the economic and political ignorance of voters. The New Zealand Herald this morning rightly labels them guilty of "xenophobia".

Whipping up a populist storm against foreign control is an old political game. The fascists did it in the 1920s, the Nazis in the 1930s. Anti-Semitism and racism are linked to this kind of selective opposition to concepts that people don't understand, and therefore instinctively oppose. This government is guilty of the worst kind of political cynicism.

There are times these days when the modern Labour Party seems beneath contempt. Be warned. There is worse to come. Because of the opinion polls, ministers are desperate and will do anything to hold on to office. "Whatever it takes".
Strong words. Some blog commentators have suggested that Bassett should do more than just sitting behind a keyboard, and perhaps even give Rodney Hide a hand this year... Could he join Ruth Richardson and Roger Douglas on the ACT Party's wish-list for high-profile candidates this election?...

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