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Key’s stance on foreign asset control disappoints

Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Minister of Finance

4 March 2008 Media Statement

Key’s stance on foreign asset control disappoints

John Key’s willingness to hand over major assets to foreign control shows that National still believes New Zealand is not capable of managing our own economic direction, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said.

Mr Key has today criticised the government’s clarification of rules on the merits of New Zealand control of a very narrow range of major strategic assets such as Auckland International Airport.

“Over the past year, there has been a comprehensive public debate on the merits of foreign control of major assets like Auckland Airport,” Dr Cullen said.

“The danger was that after any debate on Auckland Airport was settled, we could have found ourselves starting from scratch the next time an overseas investor wanted to buy a major stake in a strategic asset.

“The government’s move will allow greater certainty for all investors going forward that New Zealand control does matter. In doing so, we are hardly alone. Australia already restricts foreign ownership of airports and a number of countries, including the United States, have had heated debates on control of major ports.

“The Labour-led government believes New Zealanders should control New Zealand’s strategic assets. That is the only way we can assure those assets are used in the best interest of our economy.

“National has always stood for selling strategic assets to overseas investors and that policy has not changed under Mr Key.

“Mr Key needs to know that this is about more than just a one-off deal done of the day – the decision to surrender these asssets to foreign control will have ramifications for generations to come.”


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