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Anderton still keeping kiwis in the dark

Bill English National Finance Spokesman

20 February 2001

Anderton still keeping kiwis in the dark over high risk banking venture

"Helen Clark has given Jim Anderton a $78.2 million boost for his ego, but is still determined to keep New Zealanders in the dark over how risky the peoples bank is," National's Finance spokesman Bill English said today.

"The bank announced today won't be launched until 2002, which conveniently means it won't be able to do its first year report until safely after the election. I am willing to bet that is Dr Cullen's conniving at work. He knows the bank is a dog and he doesn't want the public to see just how much money it is losing before they vote.

"The announcement of the decision to proceed was handled like a TV infomercial. Everything sounds fine, with lots of bells and whistles. But in reality the product is a dud. The only difference is that with Jim's Bank you don't get a money back guarantee.

"The peoples bank is the opposite of what Mr Anderton says it is. It does not want those on low incomes, and if it gets too many beneficiaries, students and low-income families it plans to push its fees up to drive them away. It won't go to rural areas and it will push local credit unions to the wall.

"The only sense in which this is a peoples bank is that the people, every one of us, are going to end up paying for it.

"If Mr Anderton was serious about doing something good for New Zealanders he should have asked them to drop the price of posting a letter. After all, if they can afford to blow $6 million of their dividend on this risky venture, they could certainly afford to lower the price of delivering mail," Bill English said.

Ends

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