Labour leader Phil Goff has put an Australian investment bank on notice that it will be fired from its job advising on state asset sales if Labour wins the election.
Mr Goff yesterday released a letter he has sent to John Wylie, managing director of Lazard, saying that his first action as Prime Minister would be to terminate Lazard's contract as independent adviser in National's partial state asset sales process.
Mr Goff said it was "a disgrace" National was paying the Australian-based bank $100 million to advise on the sale of New Zealand assets.
In the letter, which was copied to Treasury chief executive Gabriel Makhlouf, Mr Goff said he was putting Lazard "on notice that an incoming Labour Government will terminate Lazard's appointment forthwith".
"A Labour Government will not be selling state-owned assets and Lazard's services will no longer be required," the letter said.
National's policy is to sell up to 49 per cent in four state-owned energy and power companies, and sell some of its 75 per cent shareholding in Air New Zealand, while retaining a majority shareholding.
Polling has shown the public are strongly against asset sales and opposition to them is the central focus of Labour's campaign.
News of Mr Goff's stunt earned him strong applause from the audience of about 100 Grey Power members at the Southwards Car Museum on the Kapiti Coast yesterday.
He warned the audience that this election was the last chance to stop those sales happening, saying once the assets were sold off they would be lost.
Mr Goff said he found out late last week that National intended to spend $100 million on the asset sales process "that three out of four New Zealanders have said they opposed".
"We don't want them sold, and we don't want Australian bankers pocketing $100 million as they clip the ticket during the sale."
His speech followed an earlier announcement that Labour would give Women's Refuge a further $700,000 a year to run its 45 centres.
The policy was launched at the Women's Refuge Centre headquarters in Wellington.
Mr Goff said the Labour Party would reverse cuts by National of $382,000 in funding for the centres and $300,000 in contracts for family violence and child advocacy work.
He said the cuts had coincided with a 12 per cent increase in use of the centres.
The policy was welcomed by Women's Refuge national collective chief executive Heather Henare, who said although National had provided a one-off increase in funding that centres could apply for to run programmes, that did not cover the day-to-day costs of maintaining the network of centres.
The Associate Minister of Social Development, Tariana Turia, is responsible for the Women's Refuge funding.
Her office said 22 Women's Refuge centres were given a total of $1.8 million from the new Family-Centred Services Fund - a 94 per cent increase on the amount given out in the previous year.
The Women's Refuge national collective received $382,000 previously, but had not had any funding from the new fund.By Claire Trevett @CTrevettNZH Email Claire