Fran O’Sullivan’s column today is about the Crafer sale and an author at The Standard classifying her ‘an enemy of the people’ for endorsing it.
I think anyone throwing around a term like ‘enemy of the people’ in this day and age should report to their political commissar for a heady dose of revolutionary self-criticism. It’s not a helpful term, because it buys into the fallacy that there’s a ‘national interest’, and that the government can make decisions that will benefit ‘the people’ of New Zealand, when mostly it’s about making decisions that will privilege certain discreet groups over others.
In the case of the Crafer farms, it’s useful for our business elite to have unrestricted access to sell their capital on international markets because they can realise maximum gains. And O’Sullivan is their most ardent admirer and able propagandist, so she’ll always endorse any policy that maximises profits for the very rich. But if you’re a small business owner in a provincial or rural setting, international ownership of farms isn’t that great because the profits will all be repatriated overseas instead of spent locally, or even domestically.
That’s the big problem with this conviction that international investment is an unqualified good – it undermines even the flawed ‘trickle-down’ theory, because the profits don’t even stay in the country where they can trickle down to anyone.