13 Oct 2011

Westpac sensitive to potential Power conflict

10:16 am on 13 October 2011

Westpac New Zealand says it's sensitive to any conflict of interest after employing retiring National MP Simon Power to head its private bank arm.

His role will involve catering for the bank's wealthy clients.

National intends selling parts of state-owned enterprises if it's re-elected next month, and Mr Power is a key member of the administration, along with being Minister of Commerce and Associate Minister of Finance.

Westpac's David McLean says that while the bank will want to participate in the potential SOE sell-offs, Mr Power will not be directly involved.

He says the bank's role is likely to be as financier to the companies or people looking to buy shares.

He says the bank will manage the situation very carefully but believes any links Mr Power would have would be very tenuous.

Mr Power will start work with Westpac in January.