The visible hand in economics

From “Strategic Assets” to “Sensitive Land”: The Circus Continues

Posted on: April 29, 2008

As may have noticed I find the whole “strategic asset” thing a little ridiculous. If I thought the situation was stupid before, you can imagine how I felt when I read Dr Cullen saying that the law actually states that it must be a “strategic asset” on “sensitive land”. Where sensitive land is “defined in the Act, it borders reserves, or foreshore and seabed, or whatever it may be.” In the words of the good Dr Cullen.

Wow. So AIAL couldn’t be sold because it is on some pretty land despite the fact that if everything goes to hell we could build an airport at Whenuapai. What happens if the Wellington electricity network is run down? Someone else can’t exactly come in and build another network. But apparently it’s not whether the land is the only place the asset could be, i.e is the land “strategic”? which I think the land the power network is on is and the airport isn’t (the motorway from the city doesn’t connect to the airport, it’s does my head in). Instead it is whether the land gives us warm fuzzies?

The quote from Dr Cullen in response to whether they are concerned with the network being owned by foreigners sounds pretty hollow when compared to the rhetoric around AIAL.

“It’s been in foreign ownership twice before. I think that’s sufficient answer to that question.”

If you are against foreign ownership of strategic assets it shouldn’t matter whether or not it had previously been owned by foreigners. The Labor party is confusing me at the moment.

Don’t you love political opportunism?

I’m going to have to rethink my investment portfolio; it’s slightly concerning that the market for corporate control of assets on sensitive land is limited to New Zealand….



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