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National to spend $150 million doing up new office?

25 May 2012

National to spend $150 million doing up Lockwood’s new office?

The Government’s plan to spend proceeds from state asset sales on upgrading the New Zealand embassy in London shows that National has no coherent plan to spend profits from asset sales but will simply fritter them away on whatever they need the cash for at any moment, says the Green Party.

New Zealand House will be Parliament’s Speaker Lockwood Smith’s new office if he becomes the next ambassador to the United Kingdom as is widely tipped. The 2012 Budget detailed a proposal to spend $150m on upgrading the embassy out of the proceeds of asset sales, though the National Party are now claiming it was a “mistake”.

“This slip up revels the Government’s Future Investment Fund is a sham. An embassy makeover isn’t an investment,” said Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman.

“The Future Investment Fund is now revealed as Government spin to make the asset sales look better.

“National wants the dividends from asset sales to go to providing a swanky office in London for the ambassador and the diplomats.

“The Government is planning to throw away the proceeds from profitable assets that we all own onto spending that will generate no returns to the taxpayer. That is economic incompetence.

“National has no good argument for asset sales. We were told the proceeds would be put back into investments we would all benefit from, but this revelation shows that isn’t going to happen.

“The state owned assets are performing well and returning good dividends. Selling them to pay for embassy makeovers is the definition of economic illiteracy,” said Dr Norman.

ends

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