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National cannot be trusted on asset sales

13 April 2008 Media Statement

National cannot be trusted on asset sales

John Key’s attempt to speak out of both sides of his mouth on asset sales means National cannot be trusted on this issue, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said.

Mr Key ‘announced’ on Agenda this morning that National would not sell state assets in his first term in office if elected. This follows Bill English’s announcement on Agenda late last year that they would indeed sell state assets and Don Brash’s 2005 election policy that parts of assets would be sold in their first term, but not any entire entities.

This all follows last week when John Key attacked government ministers for not allowing Auckland International Airport to fall into overseas control, then said he wanted a harder line on protecting the airport after first saying he did not know what he thought about protecting strategic assets.

“John Key does not believe in protecting state assets or in ensuring New Zealand control over strategic infrastructure,” Dr Cullen said.

“He confirmed this on television this morning when he admitted that the only reason assets would be protected for three years was because National does not have the political energy to sell them.

“But you can be sure they would have the energy to get them ready for sale. Mr Key’s talk about reviewing governing structures is simply handy dog-whistling for those on the right who would have otherwise been disappointed with his statements today.

“This is a man who this morning tried to imply that he had been chief executive of Merrill Lynch when he said he had come ‘form running a very, very large company’ with 71,000 employees. The truth is Mr Key was trader in chief of a much, much smaller portion of the company, but as with most things, reality should not be allowed to get in the way of Mr Key’s branding.”

ENDS

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