15 Dec 2010

Government wants to better manage assets

8:34 am on 15 December 2010

The Government wants to better manage its $223 billion of assets, which include housing, schools and commercial entities.

Finance Minister Bill English says the Government will invest $70 billion in assets over the next five years, mainly in roads, schools and hospitals, and the opportunity cost of holding these assets is $18 billion a year.

The Government has signalled it will sell minority stakes in state-owned enterprises if it's re-elected next year.

Business Roundtable executive director Roger Kerr says these entities should be sold.

Mr Kerr says social assets could benefit from private involvement in schools, roading and water supply

Council of Trade Union economist Bill Rosenburg says the assets reflect social values, not just dollars and cents.

In housing, Mr English says 40% of the 69,000 state houses are the wrong size, location or quality, while surplus defence and education properties could be sold.