21 Oct 2008

Approval lacking for Peters' proposal to sell KiwiBank

7:11 pm on 21 October 2008

New Zealand First leader Winston Peter's plan to sell shares in KiwiBank has been dubbed erratic, confusing and piecemeal.

Mr Peters says shares would be sold only to New Zealanders. He also wants the bank separated from New Zealand Post.

The MP who pushed to set up KiwiBank, Progressive Party Leader Jim Anderton, says selling the bank would destroy it.

Mr Anderton also says the idea that shares would only be sold to New Zealanders is a confusing and erratic promise, as New Zealanders already own the bank.

Labour's leader Helen Clark is ruling out the idea, saying KiwiBank is proudly owned by the people of New Zealand through the government.

Miss Clark is also ruling out giving Government business to KiwiBank, saying it needs to be kept lean, mean and in a competitive market.

And National Party leader John Key says National does not intend to sell KiwiBank, but clearly Mr Peters does.

Mr Key says KiwiBank has a very domestic focus, which makes the idea impractical.

Peters replies

Mr Peters is still raising the spectre of foreign control, saying it does not make sense to give local and central government business to a foreign owned bank when it could stay in the country with KiwiBank along with the profits.

Mr Peters says any claim he is selling the bank off is simply a rushed judgement that he says fails to understand the proposal.

He also says it is viable for the Government to put its $55 billion worth of business through KiwiBank, instead of an Australian-owned bank.