Bill to protect state assets turned down

By Kate Shuttleworth

Labour Party spokesman for state-owned enterprises Clayton Cosgrove. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Labour Party spokesman for state-owned enterprises Clayton Cosgrove. Photo / Mark Mitchell

A bill to raise the barriers to selling state assets was voted down in Parliament tonight by one vote.

Labour Party spokesman for state-owned enterprises Clayton Cosgrove's State-Owned Enterprises and Crown Entities (Protecting New Zealand's Strategic Assets) Amendment Bill would have made it harder for strategic state assets to be sold.

The bill would have required the approval of 75 per cent of members of Parliament to vote for a sale on any future asset sales.

Mr Cosgrove said it was disappointing the bill had been voted down.

"National's rejection of a Labour bill to raise the barriers to selling state assets shows the Government still has the likes of KiwiBank, KiwiRail and TVNZ lined up on the block for sale.

"My bill had a simple proposition - ensure that no state asset can be sold without a national referendum or support of three-quarters of Parliament. That protects our assets for the future and ensures the voice of the people is heard.

"There can only be one reason for opposing the bill - they want to sell more assets," said Mr Cosgrove.

United Future MP has voted against the bill when he'd previously said he would vote to prevent the sale of KiwiBank and Radio New Zealand.

"The Government's asset sales plan is causing anger up and down the country, with petitions for a referendum attracting tens of thousands of signatures. The Government's insistence on selling our assets, despite overwhelming opposition and a terrible market is exactly what the Bill was meant to stop.

- APNZ

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