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Key not surprised by Knowles' resignation

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
John Key
John Key

Wellington, May 26 NZPA - Prime Minister John Key says he wasn't surprised to learn Kiwibank chief executive Sam Knowles had announced his resignation.

"He told me some time ago he was thinking of standing down," Mr Key told reporters.

"He would have been a strong candidate to run New Zealand Post, had he wanted to, but I think after a decade it was time for him to move on and do something different."

Asked about Mr Knowles' comment that the state-owned bank should remain under New Zealand control, Mr Key repeated his previous answers to questions about Kiwibank by saying the Government had not made any decisions about any state assets.

He said Kiwibank had successfully used its brand to market itself and the Government would need to consider its need for further capitalisation.

"The bank's directors have made it clear that they want to grow and expand, and without further capital they'll be restricted in doing that," he said.

"We've listened to their proposals. Nothing has gone to cabinet at this point. It's something that's been circulating around for some time. We are certainly supportive of the bank growing but there are a lot of boxes that need to be checked."

Labour's finance spokesman, David Cunliffe, said Mr Knowles had done a magnificent job setting up Kiwibank.

"The economics of retaining Kiwibank in public ownership are absolutely compelling," he said.

"We need to be encouraging locally based sources of capital creation and banking, not selling off an asset that Kiwis have clearly shown they believe in."

Mr Cunliffe said the Government had dug itself into a hole by mentioning the possibility of privatisation and was in damage control trying to get out of it.

In Parliament today Mr Cunliffe questioned ministers about asset sales and Kiwibank but received what has become a standard answer: The Government promised not to sell any in its first term and if it decided to change that policy voters would be told about it before the next election.

They said the Government had given no consideration to selling Kiwibank.

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