More asset sale slush fund spending revealed

Rather than paying down National’s record $60 billion debt as promised, Budget documents reveal the asset sale money is still being used as a Government slush fund, Labour’s State-Owned Enterprises spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove says.

“It is outrageous the public were kept in the dark about what hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars raised from selling the family silver has been spent on.

The grab-bag of spending identified in the documents includes:

  • A marine operator safety system
  • A $23 million subscription to the World Bank
  • ‘Cashing up’ private sector R&D losses for Inland Revenue
  • Census 2018
  • The TVNZ archive
  • Capital work for Parliamentary Services
  • Implementing the Insolvency Practitioners Bill
  • Paying for the IRD to comply with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act
  • Fixing the Aratere ferry

“The Government conveniently neglected to identify these items in the May Budget documents.

“Bill English and Tony Ryall need to come clean over where this money has gone.

“Another insult revealed in the documents is that because asset sales came in well over a billion dollars short of target, the Government was advised to ensure its spending was justified. It was encouraged to defend it to the taxpayer as value for money.

“Yet Treasury found the initiatives had ‘little alignment with improving economic growth’.

“The truth is asset sales are being used to cover up the $4 billion-plus hole in revenue caused by the Government’s 2010 tax changes.

“The asset sales programme was an economic disaster which is still costing taxpayers billions and delivering little in return,” Clayton Cosgrove says.