Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How to Use Oil

Upon hearing Gerry Brownlee's enthusiastic estimate that crown reserves from prospective oil revenues would ammount to approximately ten billion dollars, the first thing I wondered was where that money would be going. Knowing this apparently act-led government, it would probably be used to finance tax cuts - to my mind, this is exactly the wrong thing to do. What we should be doing by contrast is taking a leaf from the Norwegians and establishing a robust sovereign wealth fund along the lines of their Statens Pensjon Fond Norge - namely, a fund directing that money into domestic investments.

The prime reason why such a fund would be desirable is due to the deletarious consequences of foreign investment in our companies. The surplus wealth generated winds up going overseas in the form of dividends, rather than staying in New Zealand or funding further expansion. If the Government were providing the investment instead, the money would obviously be far more likely to be retained and re-used here. This would be a long-term far more viable national investment strategy than the present enthusiasm for foreign direct investment as a quick capital injection. If National is serious about encouraging beneficial economic growth here as a result of a predicted oil boom, this would seem the logical way to go about it.

Unfortunately I haven't seen any such foresight from the prospective Sheiks in blue.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Running the Vote Bradford campaign, again.

I was watching Prime TV News last night when an article on MMP came up. It went through the usual things: the reporter erroneously suggested that the electoral system could be on its last legs when the 2011 referendum is the first of what would have to be two stages, that minor parties would disappear without MMP when STV could very well mean more minor party MPs, and then some 'MMP Advocate' just about made me throw my remote at the TV.

Sam Huggard is an ex-NZUSA Co-President. He is a supporter of trendy causes everywhere, which is perfectly fine, except when you are speaking on national TV and proclaim that MMP should be retained because it would help you with your other causes.

One of the reasons Labour lost the last election is that it was forced to run the Bradford campaign; that is, campaign on the repeal of Section 59. Voters saw Labour as being aligned with Bradford. Regardless of the moral merit of their campaign the fact is they got hammered.

However, I think the people who would change our electoral system to bias the result - from businessmen calling for the return of FPP to Sam Huggard saying it "Were it not for MMP, we wouldn't have had things like Paid Parental Leave, the Gold Card for Superannuitants and initiatives like the home insulation scheme".

We also wouldn't have had MPs like Sue Bradford.

The point is that not only is it grossly undemocratic to try and get people to choose an electoral system that is biased in your favour, by campaigning on minor party policies you will almost certainly drive people to vote for the alternative.