Phil Goff and Labour have made a major tactical blunder in the last week of the campaign by attacking National with an obvious porkie that voters already know to be untrue.

By ramping up its rhetoric on ‘asset sales’ with phrases like, ‘once you’ve sold them, you’ll never get them back’, Labour is trying to scare voters into believing that National is adopting the tactics pioneered by Labour back in the 1980s.  And let’s not forget that Labour was recently as 2002 tried to sell 22.5 per cent of Air New Zealand to Qantas – a move only stopped by competition regulators.

The reality is that the modern mixed ownership model is nothing like the ‘flog ’em all off’ approach that Labour took back in the 1980s – and New Zealanders know it. Under the mixed ownership model, the Government holds at least 51 per cent of the four companies. It’s just like the Air New Zealand model that Labour ran for most of its time in government, and it brings a positive stable mix of public and private ownership.

Kiwis know that Labour’s new-found opposition to mixed ownership is simply political desperation and hypocrisy. They should also understand that Labour appears to be in favour of joint ventures between SOEs and other companies, so their opposition to the mixed ownership model is just politicking.

Finally, New Zealanders also know that Labour’s only alternative to mixed ownership is to borrow much more money. Under Labour’s grab-bag of ideas, New Zealand would owe at least $15.6 billion more over the next four years, and that’s before you add the Greens and every other party’s wish-lists.

With the current global economic uncertainty, it is crucial for us to get back in surplus quickly, and reduce our borrowing sooner rather than later. Kiwis know that means controlling expenditure, encouraging companies to grow, and building new infrastructure from the mixed ownership model, rather than more debt.