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Buy now, pay later scheme not costed

Clayton Cosgrove
SOE Spokesperson

21 August 2013

Buy now, pay later scheme not costed

The Government’s buy now, pay later scheme for the Meridian sale is likely to cost the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars but Bill English refuses to show us the money, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.

“It absolutely beggars belief that the key incentive of a major asset sales float has been announced without any costings. But that’s what Bill English has done.

“It’s not hard to figure out the cost of an interest free hire purchase scheme. The private sector runs these schemes all the time.

“In Parliament today Bill English couldn’t even provide his best guess. Not even a ballpark figure. Every Question Time the Finance Minister haughtily lectures MPs on the benefits of costing policies. I have four words for him: ‘Show me the money!’

“The Government is welcome to run the country like a cut-price retailer if it wants to but at the very least it should try to do the sums.

“There will be significant costs. I know this. The Government is losing money by holding onto shares, rather than taking the money. Meanwhile the few wealthy Kiwi investors are getting three dividend payments for shares they haven’t even paid for.

“Bill English is taking tens of millions of dollars from Kiwi taxpayers and handing it to wealthy investors. But he refuses to tell the public the costs.

“The Government tells Kiwis it is selling assets to buy schools and hospitals in the Future Investment Fund. But we know the last SOE sales sweetener for Mighty River Power came out of the Fund. This latest sales carrot will probably come out of the fund as well. Maybe then we will see how much it costs. But it will be too late,” says Clayton Cosgrove.

ENDS

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