Open council assets to private investment, says business group
National should include sale of local body assets in its next term, says the country’s chambers of commerce.
The country’s local councils control a large number of strategically commercial assets, said New Zealand Chambers of Commerce spokesman Michael Barnett.
Allowing up to 49% of these to be opened up to private investment- as National promises to do with the country’s four government owned energy firms – would be a “win win”, Mr Barnett said.
“It would free up capital for government to invest in critical infrastructure, while giving ordinary New Zealanders the opportunity to invest in productive New Zealand-owned assets and bolster their retirement nest egg,” he said.
Such investment in what would be relatively low to moderate risk assets “would provide a safe alternative to continuing to invest in property,” he said.
“We believe a controlled asset sell down to New Zealanders of minority shares in a range of other selected commercial assets would not only help secure the target of a return to a fiscal surplus by 2015, fund the rebuild of Christchurch and enable faster delivery of critical infrastructure, but create the opportunity for New Zealanders to have some shared ownership (and direct participation) in securing our economic prospects.”