Bill aims to save future state assets from the block

By Kate Shuttleworth

State assets like Kiwibank would be protected from sale under a new bill. File photo / Dean Purcell.
State assets like Kiwibank would be protected from sale under a new bill. File photo / Dean Purcell.

State assets including New Zealand Post, Kiwibank and KiwiRail could be protected from sale if a new member's bill passes.

The State-Owned Enterprises and Crown Entities (Protecting New Zealand's Strategic Assets) Amendment Bill, put forward by Labour Party state owned enterprises spokesman Clayton Cosgrove, was drawn from the member's ballot today.

It protects essential state assets such as New Zealand Post, Kiwibank and KiwiRail from attempts to sell them off for short term profits.

"Any government trying to sell these assets will need a 75 per cent majority in Parliament or win a referendum," Mr Cosgrove said.

"We know Kiwis oppose selling our assets. This bill ensures strategic assets sales will need to pass a much higher hurdle.

"This is the acid test for the Government. If National doesn't support this bill it will be clear they are readying more assets like KiwiRail for sale."

Labour Party leader David Shearer said Mr Cosgrove's bill was not too late.

"I think New Zealanders will be very supportive of the fact that we are putting in place provisions that will stop sale of other assets," he said.

"People will sleep better knowing the Government had to either go to a referendum or get 75 per cent of Parliament before they can sell off Kiwibank," he said.

United Future leader Peter Dunne dismissed the bill as a political stunt.

"I don't really think that it's feasible - I think that it's a matter the Government of the day should determine," he said.

He said United Future's pre-election policy was not in favour of a wholesale sale of state assets.

"We said if the Government put up the four energy companies and Air New Zealand with safeguards we would support that - it's only three per cent of the balance sheet.

"We ruled out the sale of Radio New Zealand, Kiwibank and ownership of water."

- APNZ

Your views

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 26 Jul 2014 00:51:40 Processing Time: 730ms