English rejects criticism

Whatever the Government did it was always going to be difficult to avoid losses with South Canterbury Finance (SCF), Finance Minister Bill English said in Timaru yesterday.

In town to address a business lunch, English rejected criticism from Labour Party leader David Cunliffe that the Government should have placed SCF in statutory management and instead should have accepted a $1.3 billion offer led by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Ngai Tahu to buy it.

He insisted "it was always going to be very difficult to ensure no losses" from the troubled finance company.

English also defended criticism of the Government's decision to keep SCF in the government deposit guarantee scheme. He said the decision had prevented broader damage to financial investors.

"Some people have suggested they shouldn't have been allowed back into the guarantee scheme. Well, it would have collapsed straightaway with probably bigger losses than we've experienced," he said.

The Timaru Herald