17 Feb 2011

Minister confident public will support SOE partial sales

9:34 pm on 17 February 2011

Finance Minister Bill English believes the public will support the case for the partial sale of some state assets

However, a 3 News television poll has found that many of those surveyed did not want the assets sold.

The Government is considering partial share sales of four state-owned energy companies and reducing its shareholding in Air New Zealand.

Mr English says they will go ahead with the policy if it meets certain tests, such as the Government's retention of more than 50% of the asset and ensuring that New Zealand investors are at the front of the queue for shares.

The 3 News poll conducted by Reid found 60% of the 1000 people surveyed did not want the plan to go ahead.

Mr English will not be drawn on whether such poll results would change the Government's mind, saying it wants to take the public with it.

"I think on this issue ... the public are with us on their concern about debt; they are with us on the need for investment in this economy and their opportunity to put their savings somewhere."

The Government has time before the election in November to persuade people it is a good idea, he says.