The New Zealand Super Fund and Ngai Tahu were part of a consortium of investors whose bid for South Canterbury Finance was rejected last month, says Labour finance spokesman David Cunliffe.

Details of the bidders were revealed by Cunliffe in Parliament yesterday as he claimed the Government's decision not to accept an initial offer from Sydney-based businessman Duncan Saville for South Island financier Allan Hubbard's failed company may eventually cost the taxpayer more than $300 million.

Cunliffe said an offer with a net present value of $1.3 billion was made on August 31 by a consortium led by Permanent Investments. That offer was rejected by the receivers. Another offer again led by Permanent, but also including the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Ngai Tahu, was made on September 13 and also rejected.

Permanent Investments is a company associated with Saville. Its directors include Dugald Morrison, brother of Wellington businessman and Saville associate Lloyd Morrison who has interests in companies that manage millions of NZ Super Fund cash.

Permanent was identified by the Herald as a bidder for SCF's assets after South Canterbury chief executive Sandy Maier was seen on a plane reading a sale and purchase agreement for his company the day it went into receivership.

Cunliffe yesterday tabled a memo to South Canterbury staff from receivers McGrath Nichol which confirms an offer was received "immediately following our appointment". It was rejected after consultation with "appropriate parties," including Treasury.

Cunliffe said based on South Canterbury's book value of $1.8 billion, the taxpayer would have incurred a loss of about $500 million had the first offer been accepted.

He also said with the Government indicating it anticipated an eventual loss of $800 million on South Canterbury, it had effectively left $300 million on the table by rejecting the offer.

Finance Minister Bill English said he didn't want to comment on commercial details of bids or transactions that may still be under negotiation and he referred to an earlier statement that at no point was there any offer on the table "that did not involve considerable risk and cost to the Crown".

English said some of the speculation around bids for the company "may just be from bidders who felt that the Treasury or the receiver should have accepted their offer but didn't".

SCF went into receivership at the end of August triggering a $1.7 billion Government payout to investors including $1.6 billion under the Crown's Retail Deposit Guarantee.