Asset sales were always on the cards...
Labour claims National is softening up voters for a programme of state asset sales which would take place if it gets a second term in office.
Finance Minister Bill English delivered his Budget Policy Statement yesterday which shows the economy has turned the corner. The economic recovery has occurred earlier than forecast at the time of the Budget. The unemployment peak is now estimated at seven percent early next year and not the previous estimate of eight percent late next year. Future budget deficits have been revised down but it will still be 2016 before surpluses return.
Mr English also warned that the Government is examining the risks of owning state assets and identified SOEs Cordia, TVNZ, Kiwirail and New Zealand Post as companies that are struggling and are not keeping pace with change.
Labour MP David Cunliffe says that smells like an asset sales programme looming.
"New Zealand Post is an extremely profitable centre for the government. It's also the owner of Kiwibank, the only domestic bank in New Zealand. This government would sell us down the river."
The Government's books will be in the red at least until 2016.
Asset sales are a total unnecessity - we need public assets for when there is an economic recovery. NZ Post/Kiwibank is not struggling, and rail is the future around the world; in some countries competing well against air travel. It would be totally stupid to privatise our public assets.
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