Napier Port Sale Short-changes Ratepayers
Napier's port would be retained in public ownership if Social Credit had been a force in parliament, party leader Chris Leitch told the party's regional conference in Napier on Saturday.
In his speech to the conference, Mr Leitch said the Regional Council's action in selling off a major chunk of the shares was short sighted and not in the best interests of Hawke’s Bay residents.
A major income earning public asset was now in the hands of private interests, with ratepayers losing the dividends the port produced.
“Regional councillors had been hoodwinked into the sale which delivered short term gains for the Council and long term pain for ratepayers”.
“Ratepayers would soon face significant ongoing increases in rates”.
"I'll stake my reputation on the next move being to sell off the remaining shares so that the port becomes fully privately owned".
"That would add one more to the list of assets built up by the public that had been transferred to private owners”.
"With the ongoing development of the local economy those private owners will be rubbing their hands with glee at the enormous profits they stand to make".
"Social Credit would have directly invested in the port expansion using funds from the country's central bank, at no cost to either ratepayers or taxpayers, in a manner recommended recently by economics commentators like Bernard Hickey and Bryan Gould, and used by the first Labour government".
"That way profits would have continued to flow into the local economy to benefit the region for years to come".
“Sadly that potential is now lost”.