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New figures show that the cost of asset sales has already passed $10 million, Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said today.
In answer to a written question lodged by Dr Norman, Finance Minister Bill English stated that $3.947 million had been spent on the scoping phase of the asset sales programme in addition to the $7 million previously acknowledged. The total amount appropriated under Vote Finance for asset sales is $106 million over four years, although that doesn't include costs arising from the water rights issue and National's planned share giveaway, for which the Prime Minister has admitted there is no Parliamentary authority.
"The Key Government has wasted over $10 million on an asset sales agenda that Kiwis don't want," said Dr Norman.
"The costs will only keep coming as National splurges on an expensive advertising campaign to try to convince Kiwis to buy what they already own.
"Court costs from the water rights dispute and John Key's uncosted share giveaway would only add millions more to the bill.
"Budget figures show that asset sales would add around $100 million a year to the Government's deficit.
"What is the point of spending all this money on a policy that would only leave New Zealand worse off?
"The Greens have collected over 100,000 signatures so far as part of the Keep Our Assets Coalition calling for a referendum on asset sales. The coalition's total tally is nearing 200,000. It's time John Key listened to New Zealand and dropped his expensive asset sales policy," said Dr Norman.
Bill English's reply to Russel Norman's written question:
Question: What was the actual expenditure or latest estimated actual expenditure in 2011/12 for each of the three budget lines referring to the Mixed Ownership Model under Vote Finance namely Extending the Mixed Ownership Model (M31), Implementation of Mixed Ownership Model (M31), and Direct Sale costs for Implementing the Mixed Ownership Model (M31)?
Portfolio: Finance Minister: Hon Bill English Date Lodged:20/07/2012
Answer Text: The actual expenditure under the Extending the Mixed Ownership Model appropriation relating to the scoping phase of the project is $3.497 million. Actual spending under the Implementation of Mixed Ownership Model and Direct Sale Costs for Implementing the Mixed Ownership Model appropriations for 2011/12 will be provided when the Treasury annual report is released in October. An estimate of the amount of the multi-year appropriation that might be spent in the 2011/12 financial year is $7 million for the Implementation of Mixed Ownership Model and Zero for Direct Sale Costs for Implementing the Mixed Ownership Model. This was provided to the Member as part of the Finance and Expenditure Committee's Vote Finance estimates examination. To put this in context, the cost of implementing the Mixed Ownership Model has been estimated at around 2% of sale proceeds.