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Selling assets to buy groceries doesn't make sense

4 August 2008 Media Statement

Selling assets to buy groceries doesn't make sense

National's secret plan to sell Kiwibank sounds like deja vu, Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton says.

"It is an outrageous piece of sabotage against a popular, successful and growing publicly-owned bank, which in the current financial environment is simply irresponsible.

"We've been here before. This is a return to the Hollow Men and to the failed policies of the 80s and 90s, where government got into power saying one thing, and then did another. National knows that if they told people what they intend to do, no one would vote for them.

"National's secret plan is to use the proceeds of a Kiwibank sale to
help pay for tax cuts and a new Think big programme. This is irresponsible. An asset can only be sold once, but spending goes on year after year. Selling assets to buy the groceries doesn't make sense.

"Forty or fifty communities around New Zealand now have banking services that were closed down by the big Australian banks before Kiwibank came along. National is abandoning these small communities. Kiwibank has stopped branch closures, reduced bank fees and it has led interest rates down.

"National's secret policy is pure ideology. Bill English admits the bank is a success, but they want to sell it because 'some of our members are a bit antsy about it.' There is nothing pragmatic about selling a bank that is successful and ploughing its profits back into the community.

"It is irresponsible for National to put a question mark over Kiwibank in the current financial environment. The Australian banks have to borrow their loan finance in foreign markets that are extremely tight and unstable at the moment. Kiwibank is the only bank that gets all its money from its depositors in New Zealand. They see the bank as the one secure refuge for their savings, independent from the overseas chaos.

"Depositors who are fleeing from unstable private financial institutions suddenly have National saying it could hand their money right back to the Bridgecorps that depositors are trying to avoid.

ENDS


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