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Not holding hearings on asset sales in the run up to the budget is a deliberate tactic by National to save itself from embarrassment, Labour’s finance spokesperson David Parker says.
“Asset sales are the centre-piece of National’s budget but the finance and expenditure select committee is not sitting during this week’s recess, so is not hearing submissions on the issue in the budget lead up.
“If the committee were sitting now, unpopular asset sales would be getting headlines as they did during the last recess,” David Parker said.
“Some 591 people made submissions on the Mixed Ownership Model Bill, and the select committee is due to report back to Parliament on 16 July.
“Instead of taking a further opportunity to hear public opinion about asset sales, National is trying to sweep the issue under the carpet in the lead up to the budget.
“They don’t want headlines showing that after the assets have been sold there will be more debt than when they started.
“When SOE Minister Tony Ryall introduced the Bill he said ‘this legislation is about debt’, but the asset sales make the government’s deficit worse.
“It’s not surprising the Government doesn’t want more headlines in the lead up to the budget.
“The submissions already heard make it clear that asset sales won’t grow the economy or create more jobs. It increases the Government deficit and puts up power prices.
“Asset sales are National’s flagship policy for the economy. It’s not working. The economy is failing to grow,” said David Parker.