Bill English has been talking – very quietly – with iwi leaders about the state assets they should buy

Bill English in secret talks with Maori leaders?

It looks like this may be so.

A constituent in a state of high dudgeon contacted the member for Eketahuna North this morning to demand a halt to asset sales, whether partly or otherwise.

Obviously this bugger upright citizen with a contrary viewpoint is a socialist. How he has been allowed to settle in Alf’s part of our community is a mystery.

Anyway, what got him going was something he heard on Radio NZ (and if Radio NZ is going to get Alf’s constituents in a state of high dudgeon, the response should be to add it to the list of state assets to be privatised).

What the constituent heard had something to do with a bunch of iwi leaders getting together to pool their money (and they have a fair wallop of the stuff, despite the impression of poverty given by health, education, housing and and crime statistics).

Yep. Alf checked it out and learned that 50 iwi have agreed to plan setting up a pan-tribal share-buying consortium in anticipation of state-owned asset sales.

The news item started with a bit of background –

If re-elected, National is promising to partially privatise Meridian Energy, Genesis Energy, Mighty River Power and Solid Energy, as well as selling part of the Government’s shareholding in Air New Zealand.

Then came the stuff that got Alf’s constituent all wound up.

At the Iwi Chairs Forum in Hopuhopu near Ngaruawahia on Thursday, the tribes agreed they should create an economic alliance, after an address about asset sales by Finance Minister Bill English.

Waikato-Tainui executive chairperson Tukuroirangi Morgan says in the face of the proposed SOE sell-down, iwi are now preparing and organising themselves.

Mr Morgan says dairy co-operative Fonterra is a perfect example of an effective collective and there are lessons to be learnt from its model.

He says the Iwi Chairs Forum will talk more about forming a consortium at their next meeting in three months time.

Henry van der Heyden, the Fonterra boss, seems to hae drummed some ideas nto the iwi bosses, along with Bill English.

Okay. So what’s all the excitement?

Well, the way the agitated constituent sees things, first we Nats have opened the way for Maori to lay claim to the seabed and foreshore, and now we are about to give them – or sell them – big stakes in the energy companies and Air NZ.

And because they are taking advice from the boss of Fonterra, and are being advised on the economic clout that comes with pooling your resources, we can expect our power bills to go through the roof just like the price of milk has done, because Fonterra believes in near-monopoly muscle and has no effective competition.

Oh, and another thing.

Why has Bill English been so bloody quiet about counselling the iwi on the economic opportunities open to them if they buy (or partly buy) these state assets?

If he was doing good things for the country, he would want the country to know about it, especially in an election year.

Whenever Ministers don’t want the country to know what they are up to, chances are you will find they have been up to something that will bruise their electoral support.

And so Alf was challenged to show everything was above board by producing Bill’s speech notes and/or press statement.

But why bother?

The agitated constituent is obviously a crackpot, getting excited about these trivial matters.

No, whoa. On second thoughts anything involving Tukuroirangi Morgan is worth a second look.

The business ventures of a bloke who spends as much money on underpants as Morgan should be closely scrutinised, when state assets or public money are involved.

Alf accordingly did a bit of sniffing around.

Hmm. The speech notes could not be found on Bill’s Beehive web-site, although some tax stuff was posted there yesterday.

He supposed Bill’s staff have been real busy and haven’t got around to the iwi speech yet.

But no, it seems the minister was not working from a written speech and so there is nothing to post.

That means what he said is what people say he said.

This is not reassuring, but Alf is sure the Minister will have a good explanation for his clandestine carry-on. He was raised on Southland swedes, after all.

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One Response to Bill English has been talking – very quietly – with iwi leaders about the state assets they should buy

  1. Colin McIntyre says:

    Luckily Bill will (at last) have some opposition from Don Nicholson.

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