David Parker has admitted he got something wrong:
Parker now says he approved too many land sales when he was Land Information Minister in the Labour government and that Labour “didn’t get it right on farm sales”.
That statement would have a lot more validity if he gave examples of which sales were a mistake and why. What are the new owners doing to their properties and its produce that makes him think the land would be better in New Zealand ownership?
He was concerned about the growing asset inequality in NZ. “Assets ought to be priced within reach of ordinary NZers.”
“Before the global financial crisis most successful bidders for Kiwi land were NZers, Parker said. Since the crisis there had been a significant change and the only way to sustain high prices was to sell on the international market, effectively shutting out the average NZer.
What he omits to say is that one of the successful bidders for a large amount of New Zealand farm land between 1999 and 2008 was the government which paid well above market rates for high country properties. Most notable was St James Station, which the Labour government bought for $40 million, plundering the Nature Heritage Fund in the process.
This is the mistake he ought to be admitting. While he’s doing a mea culpa he could admit the tax and spend policies his government practised were also wrong. They contributed to the blowout in bureaucracy and the housing bubble which contributed to asset inequality by putting urban property prices out of the reach of many.
With no evidence to support his statement on lands sales, he’s mistaken in thinking he made a mistake by approving too many. He’s mistaken again in not admitting Labour’s mistake in paying far too much for high country farms and poor policies which put the productive sector into recession long before the global financial crisis.