Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Key leaves six critical questions unanswered



Finance Spokesperson

23 November 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT
Key leaves six critical questions unanswered

Three days from the election six critical questions around National’s asset sales agenda remain unanswered, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Cunliffe.

“John Key today attempted to appease New Zealanders worried about the sale of our assets to foreign interests, by again muddying the waters with a suggestion he could ‘consider’ legislating for a 10 per cent cap on shares. He refuses to say what he will do to stop shares going offshore -- because he knows there’s nothing he can do.

"Labour has been trying for months through Official Information Act requests and Parliamentary questions to get the straight answers that Kiwis need before they vote on Saturday,” David Cunliffe said.

“National has refused to calculate the amount Kiwis will lose in lost dividends over the next 15 years as a direct result of asset sales. Using past trends and Treasury's short-term projections, Labour estimates the cost to be $11 billion.

“Treasury also notes there is little evidence privatisation would improve the financial performance of state assets. So where is the incentive for Kiwis?

“John Key’s assertion that shares will remain in the hands of ‘ordinary New Zealanders’ is a fairy tale. National is refusing to implement any restrictions on the overseas sale of shares. Indeed, Treasury told National that "significant participation by foreigners would be essential".

“National also says it would maintain 51per cent ownership of these companies, which in itself is problematic. What if the directors at some later date decided to issue more shares to raise capital? Future governments and the taxpayer would be liable for a potentially astronomical bill.

"National has not addressed the legal risks stemming from the rights of private minority shareholders who could take the Crown to court to protect their interests. As any business person knows, effective control is lost well before 50 per cent- the sell down is a slippery slope to losing control over our energy system at a time when fossil fuel costs are set to skyrocket.

“National has been ominously silent on the scheme’s effect on power prices. This is because it understands private investors will demand higher returns, and with Treasury’s conclusion that there is little room to operate the companies more efficiently, the only way to make profits will be through higher power prices.

“Many families are already in the red, the last thing they need is higher power prices,” David Cunliffe said.

“Communities will be worse off under National. At the moment, SOEs are required by law to consider the impacts of their actions on their local communities. But with community-owned assets on the block, concessions around social responsibility will come second to corporate interests.

“Asset sales are a stop-gap measure and stalling mechanism for a party without a plan. Where Labour has bold policies to reduce debt and grow the economy National has two words: asset sales,” David Cunliffe said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

New Reports: Flood Risk From Rain And Sea Under Climate Change

One report looks at what would happen when rivers are flooded by heavy rain and storms, while the other examines flooding exposure in coastal and harbour areas and how that might change with sea-level rise.

Their findings show that across the country almost 700,000 people and 411,516 buildings worth $135 billion are presently exposed to river flooding in the event of extreme weather events...

There is near certainty that the sea will rise 20-30 cm by 2040. By the end of the century, depending on whether global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, it could rise by between 0.5 to 1.1 m, which could add an additional 116,000 people exposed to extreme coastal storm flooding. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>


Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>


Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>


Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>


Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>


Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>


School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>


IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>


Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>




InfoPages News Channels