“..I believe the function of government is to govern and not own businesses.
But, in the latest asset sales furore, I found myself sympathising with the protesters.
Since the advent of the industrial revolution every business has sought the bliss of a monopoly.
The competitive market economy denies that, except in unique situations, such as for example with our hydro electricity generating dams.
So why sell them?
Here the Government becomes a little slippery.
To reduce debt, says the Finance Minister – despite our public debt being low by world standards and interest rates never being lower.
To enable future capital-raising, argues the PM, overlooking that if, as an appeasement to objectors – the Government intends retaining half ownership -
- it will still be up for 50 per cent of any capital-raising -
- while receiving only half the previous dividend return…”
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