The sale of Auckland's airport to the same company whose purchase of US ports was spurned earlier this year values the airport at $5.6 billion, and will put the airport in the hands of an international business in which our own 'window on the world' will be an integrated part, particularly of Dubai's Emirate's Airways.
That's a great thing for NZ, and that figure of $5.6 billion (and the wealth it represents) is an enormous vote of confidence in New Zealand, and a tribute to the decision made just a few years ago to privatise the airport.
Naturally any boon like this has an equal and opposite political reaction, and no surprise that the two noisiest reactions are from the leaders of the two most xenophobic parties in parliament. Both the Greens and NZ First leapt immediately to decry the prospect of dirty foreigners getting their hands on "our" assets -- as if the asset was about to be shipped offshore.
In being opposed to "profits going offshore" and at the same time to the money coming in to buy the airport, Winston Peters demonstrates both that he's impossible to please (whichever way the money is going he's unhappy), that he's ignorant of the benefits of trade, and that as long as a business is in hands other than the government, it's largely irrelevant who owns it. The benefits accrue whoever owns it.
In saying that he can't see how New Zealanders will benefit from the purchase, Russel Norman joins Winston Peters as a politician in serious need of remedial economics . That's like saying he doesn't understand how wealth is produced through trade ... which when you think about it is true. He doesn't.
He also says it's wrong for control of Auckland's only airport to go offshore, ignoring first that no one is going to pay a couple of billion dollars just to make a pig's ear of the place, and that Russel's Greens have declared themselves as expressly opposed to a second Auckland airport that might provide this one with some competition, and that the Greens are strong supporters of the RMA, an egregious piece of legislation that makes construction of a second airport inordinately difficult, if not completely impossible.
So in short then, a great result for all of us, especially for the owners and Auckland Airport shares.