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What is Key hiding about SOE sales?

24 November 2011

What is Key hiding about SOE sales?

John Key can release Treasury advice on the sale of state-owned assets demonstrating he has nothing to hide on this key election issue, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

The Ombudsmen’s office today released a final decision upholding an earlier provisional decision to refuse to release advice Treasury prepared for National regarding foreign ownership of New Zealand’s state owned power companies.

“The only explanation for National refusing to release advice on foreign ownership of foreign assets is that it contradicts what they have been saying in public. It proves they have something to hide,” said Dr Norman.

“The Ombudsmen’s failure to come down on the side of the public’s interest in this matter is disappointing and means New Zealanders are going into Saturday’s election not knowing the full picture of National’s key election policy for 2011.

“We can reasonably assume the information that is being suppressed shows that there are significant constraints on the Government in relation to limiting foreign ownership of our state-owned assets.

“Our international commitments in various trade agreements mean we can’t simply put limitations on foreign ownership like John Key says.

“Successive Labour and National Governments have compromised our economic sovereignty and signed up to trade and investment rules that disadvantage us.

“Restricting foreign ownership will put us at odds with many of the trade treaties we have signed up to.

“John Key is saying one thing to the public, but it is highly likely his officials have given him different advice that he refuses to share.

“The suppressed advice probably shows that National’s sale pitch of selling state-owned assets to ‘Mum and Dad’ investors and keeping foreign owners out is nothing more than spin.

“The only sure fire way to keep our energy companies in New Zealand ownership is to not privatise them.

The Green Party has made keeping our assets in public ownership a top priority in any post-election negotiations.

“John Key must give the New Zealand public the full picture of his asset sales programme and release this information today,” said Dr Norman.

Link to the Ombudsmen’s final decision:

http://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/319684_norman.pdf

[Scoop copy 319684_Norman.pdf]

ENDS


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