19 Feb 2012

Asset sale protest targets United Future leader

7:23 am on 19 February 2012

A Wellington group opposed to the Government's proposed partial sale of state assets says Ohariu MP Peter Dunne has the power to thwart the proposal.

People's Power tied a ribbon and a balloon to every power pole between Mr Dunne's Johnsonville electorate office and Parliament on Saturday, in an attempt to pressure the MP into withdrawing his support for the sales.

Mr Dunne is also the leader and sole MP of United Future.

The group says Mr Dunne's support for the Government has given it a one vote majority in Parliament to pursue the partial sale of state assets, including publicly owned power companies.

Spokesperson John Maynard says the majority of voters in Mr Dunne's Ohariu electorate are opposed to the sales.

He says there could be a problem with the sales under the Trans Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement which is being negotiated by nine countries including New Zealand.

Mr Maynard says under the agreement, foreign companies that invest in such assets could sue the Government if it affects their profitability, for example by cutting power prices for people on low incomes.

Mr Dunne has refused to comment.