“Cullen Fund” double benefit to Aucklanders/Kiwis

Published: Mon 23 Sep 2002 03:53 PM
“Cullen Fund” - A potential double benefit to Aucklanders/Kiwis
The “Cullen Fund” could be used to help finance the immediate completion of New Zealand’s badly needed transport infrastructure while at the same time adding a sustainable revenue stream for the benefit of future superannuitants.
Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce was responding to a Business Herald report (September 23) that a truckload of cash is sitting in the Crown bank account waiting to be invested in the NZ Superannuation Fund.
The big question for the sharemarket: how much of it will go into New Zealand equities?
Michael Barnett said a potentially very exciting and socially rewarding option could be to invest some of the funds in fast tracking completion of Auckland’s transport network.
In particular, he noted that in Australia toll road projects reportedly enjoy a sustainable 11-12 percent rate of return, making them among the best if not the best long term investment prospect in Australia and highly favoured by financial institutions.
“These level of returns help explain why international finance companies are lobbying Auckland and Government to not waste any time in getting legislation in place to enable private sector funded toll road projects,” said Mr Barnett.
“However, another good option could be for the public sector to put up the funds. Debt funding is a tried and proven instrument used by the private sector. I suggest a very strong case can be made for using the public purse to debt fund the completion of Auckland’s transport network over the next five years, while at the same time securing a rate of return that would benefit future generations,” said Mr Barnett.
“I am confident many New Zealanders would get great pride and satisfaction from paying a toll on a publicly funded project that gives immediate transport time-cost benefits knowing that they are also contributing to their own superannuation security in future years.”

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