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Peters rewrites history of his role in asset sales

18 November 2004

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Winston Peters rewrites history of his role in asset sales

Winston Peters' attempts in Parliament this morning to re-write history with absurd claims that his privatization of Auckland airport was "successful" are an insult to everyone's intelligence, says Progressive MP Matt Robson.

"When Mr Peters was Treasurer in the NZ First-National government he was so happy to welcome foreign buy-ups of existing New Zealand monopoly services that he even kicked Mum and Dad Kiwi investors in the face by scaling back their private bids for shares in the airport company," the Progressive MP said.

In 1998, when Mr. Peters was Treasurer, his government sold 51.6% of the shares in Auckland International Airport. The NZ First-National coalition chose to sell a big chunk of Auckland airport, the monopoly gateway in and out of our biggest city, to overseas' interests. Bids for shares by small Kiwi investors had to be scaled-back because the anti-New Zealand National-led coalition wanted to reserve a "big chunk" of the company for foreign interests. According to Auckland International Airport's annual report for 1999, the biggest foreign holder of shares in the airport was Singapore Changi Airport Enterprises Ltd.

"NZ First is the party that sold our airport gateway to the world to the benefit of Singapore, yet he says in Parliament today that the sell-out of strategic, monopoly assets by NZ First in government was successful! It was successful for Singaporeans, but it was madness to sell a strategic Kiwi monopoly asset from New Zealand's point of view," the Progressive MP said.

When Mr. Peters was treasurer in the National-NZ First coalition government he had approved the sale of 166,800ha of land and MPs elected to Parliament under the NZ First banner in 1999 permitted the National-Mauri Pacific government to sell Contact Energy, a key part of our national energy system.

Winston Peters' May 14 1998 Budget Speech: "Key initiatives announced in the 1998 budget include decisions to negotiate with local government shareholders to divest the Crown's ownership interest in Auckland International Airport. . . The government has also started the process of divesting the Crown's ownership interests in the coal mining State Owned Enterprise, Solid Energy."

ENDS

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