Selling Down Assets the ‘Ministerial Approach’
Spokesperson for SOEs
20 May 2012
Selling Down Assets the ‘Ministerial
National’s Local Government Minister David Carter’s appearance on TVNZ’s Q+A this morning proved beyond doubt central government’s intention to see Canterbury’s assets sold off, says Labour’s State Owned Enterprises spokesperson and Canterbury MP, Clayton Cosgrove.
When asked about the pressure central government would put on local councils to keep on top of debt, the Minister said that rationalising some assets, such as shares in the Christchurch Airport would be the preferred approach of the National Government.
“We have known for some time that the National government is backing local councils into a corner on this issue- but this confirms it,” Clayton Cosgrove said.
“What this is really about, is the National Government trying to put pressure on the local authority in order to wiggle out of responsibilities that it has.
“This issue was raised over a year ago when the CERA legislation was before Parliament. This was not a part of the deal. The Minister’s rationale - that councils should sell down infrastructure to survive - is ludicrous.
“These are revenue generating assets which have sizable returns for the whole community. Selling these off to fulfil National’s agenda is foolish.
“This is a nationwide issue. Selling revenue generating highly profitable assets which are providing a solid rate of return at a local level is about as logical as National’s plan to sell our revenue generating state-owned assets.
“Canterbury’s profitable assets have kept local rates in check. To hear the Minister say that he would rather give up that revenue stream to pay for the disaster that has befallen our City makes a mockery of the Government’s commitment to Canterbury’s recovery.
“New Zealanders have rejected the sale of state-owned assets and the rate payers of Christchurch will reject this,” Clayton Cosgrove said.