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Greens hope to tighten Overseas Investment Rules

1 August 2007

Greens hope to tighten Overseas Investment Rules

Green Party Aviation spokesperson Sue Kedgley has drafted an Overseas Investment (Restriction on Foreign Ownership) private members bill that seeks to limit foreign ownership of key strategic assets such as Auckland International Airport. She will put it into the next Parliamentary ballot for private members bills.

"I am seeking to amend the Overseas Investment Act, adding a new consent clause that specifies that no consent can be granted by the Overseas Investment Commission, if it results in foreign owners gaining a controlling interest in a strategic national asset listed in Schedule 3 of the Act.

"My private members bill will add Auckland International Airport to Schedule 3. If it passed or gained significant political support, it would hopefully put an end to the current take over bid by Dubai Aerospace.

"The Overseas Investment Act, as it stands, is totally permissive and gives the Government almost no powers to restrict or decline take-over bids of key strategic assets, no matter how important they are to our economy or infrastructure. My Bill will give the Government much needed powers to enable it to act to restrict ownership of key strategic assets.

Ms Kedgley said it was clear that most New Zealanders were totally opposed to the sale of Auckland International Airport. "It is an absurd situation, where our Government is unable to respond to the overwhelming public sentiment against the further sale of a key strategic asset, because it doesn't have the power to act.

"Auckland International Airport is the single most importance piece of monopoly transport infrastructure in the country. If a single overseas owned corporation gains control of the airport, it's inevitable that they would run it in their shareholders financial interest, not our national interest," Ms Kedgley says.

"It is also becoming crystal clear that Emirates would be favoured if Dubai Aerospace gained a controlling interest in Auckland airport, and our own national carrier Air New Zealand would be second fiddle to this overseas owned airline. Other likely outcomes of such a take-over would be monopoly rentals and Auckland International Airport becoming a cash cow for Dubai Aerospace.

"The profits from Auckland International Airport would be flowing overseas, not into our local economy. This is a highly successful company. Why would we want to sell the golden goose?" Ms Kedgley says

ENDS

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