Tuesday, September 25, 2007

NZ Herald editorial on SOE sales

here.

For the most part... meh. Personally, keep the ones that are natural monopolies, like Transpower or the rail network and flog off either end to competitive interests. I'm also a fan of govt providing a resource of last resort e.g. Kiwibank. Vanilla mortgages, minimum interest and services and run to break even. That gives us a good benchmark for what the others provide and means we can't be held for ransom in a oligopoly.
But this:
National could, and should, sell the state's three airports, its educational publications company, its law firm the Public Trust, its pest-control manufacturer, Landcare's farms, its coalmines, timber company, and maybe its science laboratories. But none should be sold simply to pay for Government projects or provide a convenient investment for savings funds. They should be sold because they will perform to their full value in competition under owners that have to make hard-headed decisions that pay off, or else they fail. [my emphasis]
beggars belief. ummmm, science is not quite the same as a timber logging company. Yes, science often contributes to the bottom line but it's a very diffuse chain of events. It falls more naturally under a govt mandate, like, oh i don't know, education and long term investment in the economy perhaps?
If you want to commercialise science, i suggest you spin the research out into a start-up company, but then, when looking for funding in NZ who you gonna call?

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