Radio+Text: Across The Ditch – This Week NZ Govt Full-Steam Ahead With Housing Asset Sales + Helen Clark on UN Top Job

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Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.

Australia radio FiveAA’s Peter Godfrey and EveningReport’s Selwyn Manning deliver Across The Ditch – this week they discuss how New Zealand Government is now fully committed to its privatisation plan to sell off at least 8000 state owned houses to private and overseas interests. They also discuss the likelihood of former NZ PM Helen Clark running for the top UN job.

Across The Ditch – This Week NZ Govt Full-Steam Ahead With Housing Asset Sales + Helen Clark on UN Top Job – Recorded LIVE on 2/07/15.

ITEM ONE
The National-led Government is moving to create a law that will allow two Government ministers in its Cabinet the authority to directly sell off state houses.

The law in effect blurs the line of political governance and positions the ministers to specifically direct officials and manage the sale process.

Critics, like Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford say the Nationals’ controversial legislation places ministers above the law.

Twyford added: “This Bill is a charter for corruption at a time when these Ministers are planning to hock off billions of dollars of public assets.

“National wants the power to do dirty deals, flogging off billions of dollars’ worth of land and housing, and it doesn’t want to be bothered with pesky public servants or the rule of law.”

The Nationals are struggling to create a market for up to 8000 state houses. It’s preference is to sell off the houses to private interests that register as social housing providers.

The Prime Minister John Key and Finance Minister Bill English have been on the Blackfoot this week after admitting they are keen to sell off the state houses to overseas interests.

Both Key and English were happy and comfortable with reports detailing how Australian housing provider Horizon has positioned to buy up to 500 New Zealand state houses, to become the landlord of Kiwi state house tenants, and draw their profits back to Australia HQ.

Even the ideological agnostic newspaper, the New Zealand Herald, criticised the Government’s encouragement of this purchase as “perilously close to allowing blind ideology to get the better of political common sense”.

But blind ideology is what it is. The Nationals know they are a third term government and will never be as strong as they currently are. The opposition remains weak. The Nationals know time may change that balance and they are now desperate sellers. They believe in the private market, and they are hellbent on selling off state owned housing assets, desperate to create an ownership and services market, and for private interests to become the primary providers of traditional state controlled services.

Put simply this National-led Government is now well on its way toward implementing its plan to disestablish New Zealand’s social safety net, its welfare framework, and to disinvest itself of governance responsibilities to this country’s peoples… Responsibilities that have long been the burden of a century of successive New Zealand governments.

The question is, once this radical National Party plan concludes, or exhausts itself, will private social investors be prepared to place the morality that comes with responsibility above profit?

ITEM TWO
A few weeks ago I mentioned on our Across The Ditch bulletin that former New Zealand prime minister, and current United Nations Development Programme head, Helen Clark, looked well positioned to campaign for the top job at the United Nations.

This week, while in New Zealand, Helen Clark hinted that she is interested in the position.

Current UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s tenure concludes in the end of 2016.

Helen Clark told the NZ Herald: “Well it is still relatively early days. The Secretary-General is three and half years into a five-year term and normally the issue wouldn’t be resolved until well into the fifth year so let’s say there’s a lot of shadow boxing at the moment.”

Meanwhile New Zealand’s permanent representative or ambassador to the UN takes over this week the presidency of the UN Security Council.

Over this side of the ditch, the Government has been criticised for being asleep at the wheel since it was voted onto the UN Security Council.

Perhaps it has listened. In the past few days our Foreign Minister has been positioned as a point man in the latest attempts to get the leaders of Israel and Palestine to agree to re enter peace talks.

Across The Ditch broadcasts live on Thursdays on FiveAA.com.au and webcasts on EveningReport.nz, LiveNews.co.nz, and ForeignAffairs.co.nz.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues.
Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia’s FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand’s The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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