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Winston has no real commitment to state assets

1 November 2004

Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Don't let Winston do it again - he has no real commitment to state assets

"When Winston Peters said he was concerned about buying back strategic assets, including airports, on the radio this morning I had to do a double take," Matt Robson, Progressive Deputy Leader said.

"In 1996 Winston Peters went to the electorate suggesting he would protect state assets, after previous governments of the time had sold off a very long list of assets.

"By July 1998, as Treasurer, he was responsible for selling off a number of highly valuable assets, including the then government's 51.6 per cent shareholding in Auckland International Airport. I thought to myself, here we go again!

"I did some very interesting reading this morning from Hansard of the 18th of August 1998. It reads: 'This coalition (National-NZ First) has now sold six airports since it has been in office and three others are under active consideration.' That's a good reminder of Winston in action."

"While he was Treasurer, Winston Peters approved the sale of 166,800 hectares of land and $11.7 billion of assets to foreign owners. He also promised the country that he would retain ownership of the state owned forests under Forestry Corp - saying he would "simply hand the cheque back". Suffice to say, no cheque was returned.

"Given his real record on the sale of assets I am astounded that his strategist would want to remind the public of his central role in the sale of new Zealad's assets when he was in the National government and when he was then Treasurer in the coalition. as willingness to considering his record. He and his strategic advisors must think that all New Zealanders suffer from memory loss.

"If you want to keep strategic assets then the best option is to promote a Labour Progressive government - we have already established the only nationwide, New Zealand owned bank, Kiwibank; bought back the railway track, the airline and safeguarded the future of superannuation. Don't let him sell us out again!" Matt Robson said.


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