25 Nov 2011

Further asset sales not on cards - English

10:04 am on 25 November 2011

The National Party says no advice has been sought from officials on extending its partial asset sales plans past the four energy companies named earlier this year.

The Green and Labour parties say the extent of National's plans is unclear, with the Chief Ombudsman turning down a request to allow the release of some Treasury advice because of commercial sensitivity.

The Greens questioned whether the officials are preparing advice on a possible extension of the mixed ownership model to companies other than Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power and Solid Energy.


If re-elected, National has said it plans to proceed with the sale of up to 49% of the four energy companies and to reduce the Crown's shareholding in Air New Zealand.

National Party finance spokesperson Bill English says the Greens are being mischievous.

"We have not considered, and nor has Treasury at all considered, further sales."

The Green Party had cited a letter it received from the Chief Ombudsman Beverley Wakem rejecting the Greens' complaint that Treasury information on the selling down of assets was being witheld.

The Treasury has told the Office of the Ombudsmen that advice is being prepared for ministers on a possible extension to the mixed ownership model and the advice will be provided after the election.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said that could be read two ways; meaning either extending the existing Air New Zealand model to energy companies, or that more assets will be on the block.

However Mr English said the reference to extending the mixed ownership model refers directly to work being done on how the Air New Zealand model works, and how it could be extended to the four energy companies.

National says it has given an absolutely firm commitment that the only assets that will come under mixed ownership in the next term will be Air New Zealand and the four energy companies.

Dr Norman said National could clear up any confusion by releasing Treasury's information.

He says the decision to withhold the information means voters will go to the polls on Saturday not knowing the full implications of National's asset sales policy.