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NZ First - serial asset sellers

Hon Jim Anderton

Progressive Party leader

21 October 2008 Media Statement

NZ First - serial asset sellers

Coming only weeks after Winston Peters personally signed a pledge stating 'my party will not initiate or support the sale of Kiwibank', his promise now to sell shares is erratic and confusing, Progressive MP Jim Anderton says.

As the MP who pushed to set up our own bank at a time when New Zealand's financial system was wholly overseas owned, Jim Anderton says Kiwibank isn't broken so it doesn't need fixing.

"The bank has attracted nearly 700,000 customers - still at the rate of 2000 new ones every week. It's worth half a billion dollars. It's successful because it's ours. Why would you say you want to sell shares in the bank to New Zealanders when we already own it?

"Selling Kiwibank would destroy it as fast as some political parties' secret donors could get their hands on it."

Jim Anderton says NZ First previously promised to restrict share ownership to New Zealanders when it sold Auckland Airport. As Treasurer he announced ordinary 'mums and dads' would own the airport. 'Every New Zealander who applies for a stake in Auckland International Airport will be allocated some shares,' he said.

"But it went offshore as fast as a wide bodied jet. After the two councils Mr Peters couldn't force to sell out, the 'mum and dad' shareholders who own Auckland Airport have names like 'Citicorp Nominees', 'HSBC' and 'JP Morgan Nominees Australia Ltd'.

"Winston Peters is a serial asset seller. When he says shares in Kiwibank would only be sold to New Zealanders, that now has as much credibility as his personal signature on a pledge not to sell the bank at all. This is the worst kind of pre-election political opportunism."

ENDS

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