Labour is ruling out buying back any of the state owned assets which are partially privatised under the government’s mixed ownership programme.
The party’s state owned enterprises spokesman, Clayton Cosgrove, told TV3’s The Nation programme at the weekend that it would be “fiscally irresponsible” to commit to any “open-ended fiscal envelope” to buy back the assets if it became the government.
And Green MP Gareth Hughes told the programme that his party would consider the matter after the election.
“Who knows what type of mess the government will leave the books in post the election,” he said.
The two potential left of centre coalition partners’ views contrasted with that of the other opposition party, New Zealand First, whose leader Winston Peters told The Nation that “ Winston Peters and our future government is going to take back those assets”.
“By that I mean pay no greater price than their first offering price. That is, if they transfer to seven or eight people doesn’t matter, we'll pay the first price or less, “he said.
He agreed that this meant that anybody who bought the shares would “take hit” if his plan was implemented.
Mr Peters said the government could fund the buyback by borrowing from the Cullen Fund.
But Mr Hughes argued that simply by signalling to the market that a future government would buy the assets back would drive their price up.
However, Mr Peters was equivocal on whether his proposal to buy the assets back could be a deal breaker in forming a future coalition with the other opposition parties.
“The problem with that is you cannot in our environment make a determination for other parties when we don’t know who's going to be there and in what numbers,” he said.
“New Zealand First is adamant that we will not go into government with parties that do not understand some fundamental critical things.
"At the last election we said we're going into government with no one, and I'm hoping that other parties are hearing that there is a need for some agreed principles and this is sounding very much like one.”
Watch the full episode of The Nation here.
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