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Foreigners will end up owning state assets, Labour says

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Clayton Cosgrove
Clayton Cosgrove

Wellington, May 25 NZPA - If the Government sells state-owned assets they will end up in foreign hands, the Labour Party says.

There has been speculation that the Government will change its policy and sell state-owned assets since the issue was raised at a meeting on Friday where Finance Minister Bill English was questioned about it.

Kiwibank was mentioned, and Mr English said he thought "mum and dad investors" would be keen to buy shares if it was put on the market.

Prime Minister John Key said yesterday the Government was a long way from making any decisions about changing its position, and if it did voters would be told about it before the next election.

Before the last election National promised not to sell or partially sell any state-owned assets in its first term and Mr Key said he was going to honour that commitment.

"Because it was a one-term commitment it's important that we kick the tyres on that policy and going into the 2011 campaign we have a clear policy -- either to retain the existing position, or to change it," he said.

Labour's SOE spokesman Clayton Cosgrove said last night Kiwi mums and dads already owned Kiwibank.

"They will see through Mr English's motives in saying National is thinking about giving Kiwis the chance to buy Kiwibank all over again," he said.

"The reality is that if part of Kiwibank goes up for sale, it won't be Kiwi mum and dad investors who buy shares.

"It will be large foreign institutions who want to grab a slice of this popular and growing young bank that is actually owned by Kiwis."

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