Campbell concludes that all the arguments for asset sales commonly cited by proponents of the plan are flawed, and he exposes eleven myths about asset sales:
- Asset sales will reduce debt and help the government to balance the books.
- Asset sales will create an opportunity for ordinary New Zealanders – the so- called “Mum and Dad investors” – to own a stake in some top notch companies.
- Asset sales will help boost the appeal of the New Zealand sharemarket as a place to invest.
- Asset sales will bring private sector disciplines and efficiencies to bear on the performance of these assets.
- The shareholding will stay in New Zealand hands.
- Asset sales will increase the pool of national savings and investment.
- This is a good time to sell state assets.
- We have to sell state assets now, to pay off debt.
- Privatisation, either full or partial, is a driver of innovation.
- The asset sales are consistent with the government’s energy planning.
- Asset sales are consistent with Treaty principles.
So it appears that the asset sales plan is more about ideology than good economic sense.
It's just a pity that National is likely to take not the slightest notice of any of these objections, if it wins another three years in office.