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Anderton challenges Brash to debate Kiwibank sale

Media release

24 March 2004

Anderton challenges Brash to debate Kiwibank sale

Don Brash would have to be blind deaf and dumb to really believe Kiwibank has not improved competition in the banking sector as he suggested on the Holmes Show last night, Jim Anderton said today.

He said "I regard the banking sector in New Zealand as very very competitive. I'm not at all sure that Kiwibank is making a major impact on that and if that's the case, yes we should sell it."

"I challenge Don Brash to debate the benefits of Kiwibank with me, in public, either in a church or in a secular hall, where ever he feels most comfortable. This is a bank that has made a huge positive impact for all banking customers and Brash's assertions are simply unsupportable.

"Kiwibank has had overwhelming support from the public. Already there are 220,000 customers, close to $1 billion worth of home loans and 290 branches around the country, the largest retail banking network in New Zealand. This alone shows extraordinary support. It's well ahead of the targets set for the bank to be successful.

"Public surveys have also shown huge support for Kiwibank and Consumer Magazine rated them 'clear best choice for mortgage holders' last year. Brash is clearly not listening to the concerns of the ordinary New Zealander on this topic.

"Before Kiwibank New Zealanders were very disillusioned with the banking sector because it was constantly closing down branches and raising fees. I had older New Zealanders phoning me almost every day with a story about how their local branch had closed and they had to go well out of their own community to get their banking done.

"Overseas owned banks were taking hundreds of millions of dollars in banking profits out of the country every year. Kiwibank has kept its money in New Zealand for the use of New Zealanders.

"The excellent competition provided by the New Zealand owned Kiwibank benefits everyone. Not just Kiwibank customers, but all bank customers who are the recipients of lower fees and improved services. New Zealanders are clearly keen to ensure Kiwibank stays open. They will have to vote against Don Brash and the National Party to make sure it does." said Mr Anderton.

ENDS


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