Hundreds beg committee to stop sale of state assets

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 05:00 15/04/2012

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Hundreds of New Zealanders have written to a parliamentary select committee begging for a halt to the sale of state owned assets.

Submissions on National's reviled Mixed Ownership Model Bill closed on Friday - and the majority of the 600 already made public were in opposition.

National went into the November election pledging to sell off a 49 per cent stake in four energy companies and reducing its share in Air New Zealand.

However, a large proportion of the submitters disagree with Prime Minister John Key's assertion that National has a mandate for the sale because it won.

Many called for a referendum on the sale, backing a Labour, Greens and Grey Power alliance which has launched a petition. A number of the correspondents asked to be allowed to appear before the 11 MPs sitting on the finance and expenditure committee.

Many kept their letters brief, with Panayiotis Matsis writing simply: "NO ASSET SALES."

The first submission, from Vivienne Shepherd, called the sell-off "theft". "How it is that the people of New Zealand are being conned into buying shares they already own, but then those who purchase them will be the chosen ones ... I do not give John Key, Bill English and Tony Ryall permission for my 49 per cent to be sold."

One man, Scott Marris, even wrote an impassioned letter from a South Korean language school to voice his opposition.

"The majority of New Zealanders do not want this Bill to go through. We do not want New Zealand-owned assets to be sold at all!" he penned.

A number of the submissions used recommendations drawn up by the Greens. These asked that the committee consider new provisions preventing the sale of energy generating assets offshore and restricting ownership to New Zealand residents and companies.

Green party co-leader Russel Norman says he is not surprised by the number of responses and expects the final count will be much higher.

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- Fairfax Media

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