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National wastes $26 million on asset sales so far

National wastes $26 million on asset sales so far

The Green Party has revealed today that the National Government has so far racked up a $26 million bill at the taxpayers’ expense for its ideologically-driven asset sales programme, before a single asset is even sold.
A newly released Treasury document shows that Treasury has spent over $16 million on the asset sales policy and the SOEs themselves have spent over $8 million. The costs associated with the water rights dispute arising from the proposed asset sales and the bonus paid to Mighty River’s CEO for guiding it through the planned sale brings the total to $26.1 million.

A total of $106.3 million has been budgeted for the asset sales programme but that doesn’t include large off-budget costs including the bonus share give-away, the water rights dispute, extra pay for executives and directors, and the SOE’s own costs in preparation for sale.

Nor does it include the permanent $100 million a year increase in the deficit, which Treasury says would result from the sales.

“National’s wasted $26 million of public money on asset sales that New Zealanders don’t want – and they haven’t even sold anything yet,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

“This is an extravagant waste of taxpayer funds from a government whose constant refrain is that there is not enough money to pay for desperately needed policies.

“These costs are just the tip of the iceberg. If the sales actually go ahead, the cost will balloon into the hundreds of millions,” said Dr Norman.

The Keep Our Assets Coalition has nearly reached its goal of 400,000 signatures to force a referendum on asset sales.

“The huge support for the referendum shows that Kiwis want our energy assets to stay in public ownership,” said Dr Norman.

“Kiwis know it doesn’t make sense to sell off our profitable strategic assets. The $26 million bill that National has racked up so far will only harden the public opposition against asset sales.

“It’s not too late for the National Government to listen to the public and to common sense – stop wasting our money on pointless asset sales and start focusing on fixing the economy.”


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