$1.5b plan to sell state assets

By COLIN ESPINER – The Press | Tuesday, 25 September 2007

National is considering partial sales of state assets worth about $1.5 billion to fund projects such as roads and electricity transmission upgrades.

Deputy leader Bill English yesterday gave more details of National’s plans to part-privatise state assets, despite a furious reaction by Labour to the idea.

English sparked controversy by suggesting on TVNZ’s Agenda programme at the weekend that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) such as power companies could be partly sold under a National government.

Prime Minister Helen Clark has ruled out the sale of any state assets under a Labour government and called English’s plan “rolling privatisation” and “a slow-burning fire sale” of state assets.

“I have little doubt it’s one of the ways of creative accounting they’d like to use to finance tax cuts for rich people,” she said.

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