Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stopping all asset sales an immediate priority for an incoming Labour Government...

Labour Party leader Phil Goff has stepped up his opposition to asset sales, saying his first act if he became Prime Minister would be to stop the sales process.

Labour has made opposition to National's plan for partial state asset sales one of the central planks of its election campaign.

National's policy is to sell up to 49% of state-owned energy companies Meridian, Mighty River Power, Solid Energy and Genesis and reduce the Government's majority shareholding in Air New Zealand.

Phil Goff says National Party leader John Key is ploughing ahead arrogantly by letting an Australian arm of the investment bank, Lazard, and others prepare to put the assets on the block for sale.

And he says the partial sale of state-owned assets would ultimately end up lining the pockets of overseas bankers and brokers.

Based on the percentage that is taken from the sale of assets, Mr Goff says, brokerage fees and other expenses are likely to cost up to $100 million.

"For a start, the Aussie banks that have been promised $100 million to sell off our assets, they'll be told to go home."

He says this will further erode the returns from selling New Zealand's state-owned assets.

Mr Key is defending the appointment of the Lazard to advise the Treasury about the merits of proposals presented by bankers involved in the sale process.

Asked whether the appointment was jumping the gun, as National does not yet have a mandate to start selling shares, he said that it was not.

"They're doing some preliminary work for us and in the end their contract - I mean it's done with Treasury and I haven't looked at all that - but I imagine they're paid for the work that they do and in the end if we're not the government they won't be doing any work and they won't be getting paid."

Mr Key says there will be bank fees to be earned if and when the sales go ahead, but he says that business would be more likely to go to New Zealand banks.

Kiwi Riverman says:  And  all asset sales must be scrapped, including the new  policy to dam rivers in the South Island and distribute our water to wealthy dairy farmers.

Acknowledgements: © 2011, Radio New Zealand

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