15 Jun 2012

Asset sales bill passes second reading

8:24 am on 15 June 2012

Legislation paving the way for partial asset sales is closer to becoming law.

After a rowdy debate in Parliament, the Mixed Ownership Model Bill has passed its second reading.

The Government plans to sell up to 49% of Mighty River Power, Meridian, Genesis and Solid Energy.

It will also sell more shares in Air New Zealand, but does not need to pass legislation to do so.

Labour says the Government heeded public opinion and backed down on school class sizes, and should do the same on the partial privatisation programme.

Opposition parties have teamed with unions and Grey Power in an attempt to get a referendum against the sales.

New Zealand First warned National MPs they will be punished at the polls for voting for the legislation.

In response, National's Nick Smith taunted Mr Peters for having signed off and spoken in support of the sale of Auckland International Airport in 1998, while he was Treasurer.

Prime Minister John Key rejects any claim that the Government has no mandate.