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English all at sea on SOEs

Finance Spokesperson

English all at sea on SOEs

Finance Minister Bill English must come clean on the true price of selling our state-owned assets, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Cunliffe.

“In Parliament today Bill English admitted that Budget 2011 does not account for the loss of dividends resulting from the proposed and un-mandated asset sales --- but does book the revenue from those sales,” David Cunliffe said.

“His figures are sadly unreliable. Yesterday he asserted that SOEs had paid the government $350 million in dividends last year. In fact, the figure was $831 million, and Bill English can’t explain the half billion dollar discrepancy between his spin and the facts

“Nor can he explain why his Investment Statement predicts that selling assets will cost $200 million a year in lost dividends when, in fact, the assets National wants to sell have paid an inflation-adjusted average of $312 million a year over the past five years,” David Cunliffe said.

“In short, Mr English has booked the full value of selling assets he has no mandate to sell while failing to properly account for the cost of those sales in lost dividends, and he has no excuse for this.

“This is another dent in the credibility of National’s Budget, which also relies on $1 billion of savings from unspecified public service cuts, Treasury projections of tax revenue that are $4 billion higher than IRD’s projections, and rosy growth forecasts like those he made in his past two budgets, and which failed to eventuate.

“No wonder credit ratings agency Standard and Poors has kept the government on negative credit outlook,” David Cunliffe said.

“Labour will not be selling our state-owned assets, but we will present a responsible vision for growing our economy and jobs and owning our future.”


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