by Keith Stewart
The spooky thing about Greece's decision to back the New Democracy Party on the premise that it can sort out its economic troubles is that this is the same political organisation that got it in the crap in the first place. Is this inability to break from the establishment the real problem the world's democracies now face, in particular us in New Zealand?
After all, we have re-elected National in the apparent belief that this is the party of judicious government, in spite of evidence to the contrary. Given choices, this government has backed merchant banking investors when the world is facing a financial sector induced crisis. Has backed massive roading investment when roading is already looking like the transport of the past. And has invested in tax cuts for the rich when there is more call than ever on the need for support for our poorest citizens.
Even worse is the determination of our commentators to cast any political organisation that offers an alternative that is a deviation from past failures as risky and fiscally dangerous. What we do know for sure is that the policies of the past, of National and Labour, are fiscally extremely dangerous, especially in our current financial situation.
So much against the encouragement of the Prime Minister that we don't follow Greece into financial ruin, we are, in fact, doing just that by supporting his government. Yet alternatives to selling off our assets to meet short term political debt are decried as fiscally irresponsible or completely ignored in the case of Mana's proposal for a transaction tax.
When Winston Peters calls for parties opposing the sale of state assetts to guarantee to buy those assetts back, compulsorily and at no profit to investors, his position is rejected by Labour, the Greens and our political media too risky because the potnetial cost of such a deal would be too high.
Quite simply, if all opposition parties supported this notion, the sale of the assetts would be dead in the water as no sensible investor would spend money on something that only needs a change of government to no longer be a sound bet. If the price is too low, the Government has already said the assets will not be sold, so game over. If, on the other hand there are a chunk of really silly investors and the Government does not back out, the price of buying back the energy companies is unlikely to be beyond the resources of the next Government.
Makes fiscal sense to me.