I would like to offer my congratulations to Radio Tarana as it celebrates 16 years of reaching out to listeners around the country with its great variety of music, news, entertainment and current affairs.
It is really important to have radio stations that are able to reach all the communities that make up our diverse Kiwi society.
I understand that Radio Tarana is New Zealand’s number 1 Hindi Station and I offer my congratulations for that achievement as well.
I really enjoy being able to talk to the tens of thousands of the Station’s listeners about Labour’s policies and views during my fortnightly interviews on Sunday afternoons.
Politics is rapidly becoming more of a focus for New Zealanders as the election gets closer.
Labour has been busy developing its policies and is already campaigning strongly on key issues like dealing with the rising cost of living and stopping asset sales.
We are vehemently opposed to National’s plan to sell off valuable community-owned assets like our power companies to corporate and foreign buyers.
And so are more than two-thirds of New Zealanders.
Despite that, National is arrogantly ignoring public opinion and going ahead with the planned sell-off.
It is stupid to sell off assets that return hundreds of millions of dollars in dividends to the community every year.
National claims that selling the assets will benefit Kiwi mum and dad investors who can buy into them. But all of us already own these assets. Many Kiwis cannot even afford to pay their power bills at the moment, let alone have enough money left over to buy shares.
Selling the power companies off to private investors will drive power prices up even higher.
The new owners will of course want to push up their profits and that means bigger electricity bills for consumers. That is something none of us want.
Labour is committed to keeping our valuable, strategic assets firmly in Kiwi hands.
We are introducing a new Private Members Bill to prevent the sale of key assets unless there is a clear public mandate to do so otherwise.
That new law would require any future proposal to partly or wholly privatise a State-Owned Enterprise or a Crown entity to gain support from 75% of Parliament or from a majority of voters in a referendum.
This law would protect assets like our state electricity generation and transmission companies, NZ Post, KiwiBank, Landcorp and Solid Energy.
It would also cover other strategic assets like Radio New Zealand, Television New Zealand and the Crown Research Institutes.
Once they are sold, they are lost forever.
This issue, along with concerns about the cost of living, the need to create jobs, get the economy going again and put our children first, will be the main areas of focus for Labour on this election campaign.
We look forward to your support and will keep you informed about our policies as they are fully developed and released.