The spectacle of the Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters trash-talking one of New Zealand’s leading businesses, Fonterra, explains why business confidence continues to plumb new depths under this government, National’s Economic Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.
Mr Peters has been taking pot shots at Fonterra since yesterday, after the news it was selling Tip Top to UK-based Froneri for $380 million.
“If a Kiwi business wants to sell one of its assets in order to put the money into other parts of its business, or to pay back debt, that’s its choice,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“No Kiwi business should have to put up with wild, grandstanding attacks from the Acting Prime Minister, criticising their judgment and implying, impotently, that the deal shouldn’t be allowed to happen.
“Just what is Mr Peters saying? Is he proposing that all foreign investment should be banned? Is he saying that once a Kiwi business owns something it should only ever be able to sell it to locals?
“The reality is, he is doing nothing except having a spray at the expense of what he thinks is a soft target. Just like his colleague Shane Jones does, on a regular basis.
“And is there any wonder that business confidence is so low? Mr Peters co-leads a government that has presided over a dramatic fall in economic growth during the past 18 months, from nearly four per cent down to nearly two per cent.
“The Government likes to blame international events, but as the Reserve Bank Governor said last week, international growth is around average levels and domestic factors are equally important.
“Falling business confidence flows through to less investment. With less investment we get less new job growth. Job growth has fallen off a cliff these past 18 months.
“If Mr Peters wants to ban foreign investment in New Zealand business he has the power to do it. If not, he should give the business leaders of this country the dignity of his silence.”