20 Jun 2012

Dunne reassures MPs about asset sales

7:23 pm on 20 June 2012

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne has reassured opposition MPs the Government will raise more than enough extra tax to cover any loss of income from the partial sale of state assets.

Mr Dunne has told Parliament's finance and expenditure select committee a series of changes have been put in place which will increase the tax take.

Opposition members on the select committee used Mr Dunne's appearance to question him about his support for the partial privatisation of four state-owned energy companies.

Labour's state-owned enterprises spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove asked about the loss of $100 million in income once shares in the assets were sold.

Mr Dunne replied that better policing of the tax system, plus increases in tobacco and petrol taxes, would raise an extra $1.734 billion over five years.

But Mr Cosgrove didn't give up on criticising Mr Dunne for supporting the asset sales.

"Are you looking forward to your place in history as the man whose one vote sold New Zealanders out?" Mr Cosgrove asked.

Debate on partial asset sales continues in Parliament on Wednesday as MPs finish their clause-by-clause examination of the Mixed Ownership Model Bill.

The bill will allow for the sale of up to 49% of the Government's shareholding in Genesis Power, Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power and Solid Energy.

Maori Party defends position

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is defending her party not supporting the opposition in its attempts to change the legislation that allows partial asset sales.

The Maori Party - despite being against asset sales - voted with the Government against the amendments.

Mrs Turia says the Maori Party only supported aspects of the bill regarding Treaty issues.

She said attempts to filibuster were a waste of House time and tax payers' money.