National lining up asset sales to pay for tax cuts

Published: Mon 24 May 2010 10:00 AM
National lining up asset sales to pay for tax cuts for the rich
John Key's National government is softening up New Zealanders to prepare them for a sell off of publically owned iconic assets such as Kiwibank, Labour leader Phil Goff says.
"Finance Minister Bill English put asset sales back on the agenda in a speech on Friday, but when asked again directly this morning on television he tried to squirm off the hook," Phil Goff said.
"Today's evasion is just the start of the games Mr Key and Mr English are about to play with the public.
"National knows New Zealanders believe we should keep Kiwis assets, and don't want them being sold off to private and overseas companies which either asset strip them - TranzRail - or run them into bankruptcy - Air New Zealand.
"Asset sales represent a huge destruction of Kiwi wealth.
"National's sale pitch for Kiwibank appears to centre on a 'partial sell off' directed at Kiwi 'mums and dads' but experience tells us that the real winners will be private speculators and institutions, which will quickly grab control.
"It's more cynicism from National and means all Kiwis will be the losers. Kiwibank is very good at keeping the big four banks honest - by making it more difficult for them to act in unison against the interests of New Zealand consumers.
"The big four already take $2.6 billion in profits out of New Zealand every year, and last year some tried very hard to avoid paying more than $1 billion in tax they owed Kiwis.
"Losing control of Kiwibank would see even more of our wealth disappear overseas.
"So why is National still so fixated on asset sales given its botched firesale failures of the past?
"The only plausible explanation is that is to pay for its tax cuts - of which $4 billion, or a quarter, go to into the pockets of the top 5 per cent of income earners.
"Once again the family silver is at stake.
"Labour is strongly opposed to a shift overseas of the significant amounts of New Zealanders wealth that are wrapped up in our publically owned assets.
"Labour will fight all the way any attempt by National to sell off our Kiwi assets," Phil Goff said.

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