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Blind Ideology Costs Taxpayers Nearly Another $1Bn

Press Release

Blind Ideology Costs Taxpayers Nearly Another $1 Billion

Rodney Hide MP

Wednesday, May 28 2008

ACT Leader Rodney Hide today accused Finance Minister Dr Michael Cullen of allowing his blind commitment to State ownership to cost Kiwi taxpayers the thick end of another billion dollars.

"The New Zealand Herald's Fran O'Sullivan has revealed that, had he followed advice last year and sold down the Government's stake in Air New Zealand to 51 percent, Dr Cullen would have realised $840 million," Mr Hide said.

"But the Minister's blind ideological commitment to State ownership meant he refused to sell, and the value of the Government's stake in Air New Zealand has since dropped from $2,500 million to less than a billion.

"That's a loss of $1.5 billion on paper and a real billion if Cullen had sold on advice yet kept control as he maintains he needs.

"All around the world, taxpayers and consumers are revelling in the benefits of privatisation – the only exceptions are North Korea, Cuba, Burma and New Zealand under either Labour or National.

"It's time politicians looked past politics and ideology and put the interests of taxpayers and consumers first. The country simply can't afford such political indulgence," Mr Hide said.

ENDS

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