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National’s cosy relationship with Westpac needs to end

4 September 2012

National’s cosy relationship with Westpac needs to end

The National Government continues to drag its heels on tendering the government master banking contract, the Green Party said today.

Parliamentary questions lodged by the Green Party show Finance Minister Bill English’s expectation of a competitive tender of the master banking contract in the 2011/2012 financial year have now been delayed and face an uncertain future.

“The National Government is dragging its feet on tendering the government master banking contract – a contract held uncontested by Westpac for 23 years,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

“A competitive tender will ensure the taxpayer is getting value for money from the Government's banker.

“It’s time to open up this cosy, uncontested business relationship successive governments have had with the Westpac bank.

“Of course, Government ministers might have to give up on some of their corporate box seats and tickets to rock concerts provided courtesy of Westpac.”

The Green Party has previously shown that senior National Government ministers and their staff were regularly accepting generous corporate hospitality from Westpac Bank.

“Ideally, our Government's banking should eventually be done by our New Zealand bank, Kiwibank,” Dr Norman said.

“Australian-owned banks control 95 per cent of our banking industry and this Government has done nothing to stop the massive capital drain that results from these banks repatriating their record profits offshore each year.

“The inclusion of a national interest test in the tender process will ensure that New Zealand banks like Kiwibank can get at least some of the Government contract in the short term.”

The two relevant Parliamentary questions:

06573 (August 2012) In light of his answer to QWA 7363(2011), does he now have a date for the tendering of the Government’s master banking contract?

Hon Bill English: MBIE and Treasury are assessing the scope and potential funding requirements for a tender of the Government’s master banking contract. The decision on a date for a tender will be made once these matters have been considered.

5047 (June 2011): What is the anticipated timeline for tendering the Government’s master banking contract?

Hon Bill English (Minister of Finance) replied: The timeline for tendering the Government’s master banking contract has not been determined yet as the project is currently being scoped. However, we envisage being able to go to market in the 2011/12 fiscal year.

ends

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