United Future and Asset Sales – the facts

There have been many accusations made against Peter Dunne, about his and United Future’s position on National’s asset sales/mixed ownership model policy during the election, and a supposed changed position. Most accusations have been incorrect, and some amount to blatant misrepresentation.

Here is a collection of proofs that the United Future position has been consistent pre and post election.

  • Everything supports a consistent position.
  • Nothing anyone has produced contradicts a consistent position.


Peter Dunne:

The position was very clear before the election and anyone who attended of the public meetings in Ohariu before the election would have me state it, over and over again.

United Future website:

Dominion Post Live Chat – Ohariu electore political candidates

The Dominion Post:
To Peter Dunne, from Joe Brown: Will you say no to all state asset sales like Labour and Charles Chauvel have this year?

Dunne Peter:
In principle, UnitedFuture does not advocate selling state assets, but in the event National putst up its mixed ownership model for the electricity companies and Air New Zealand we would be prepared to support that, provided the maximum was 49%, with a cap of 15% on any indivudual’s holdings. We would never support the sale of Kiwibank, Radio New Zealand or control of water assets.

TV1 Leaders Debate:

PETER Weve gotta get the language right here. This is not selling state assets. This is a proposal to sell shares of a minority nature in four energy companies and Air NZ. Provided New Zealand control is retained – the government will retain 51% – provided New Zealand control is retained in the shareholding and that no one can hold more than 15%-

METIRIA You cannot guarantee that, Peter. You know that.

PETER -and provided we never move to sell Kiwibank, Radio NZ or our water resources, we would be prepared to support that policy.

People Power Ohariu (TV3 News):

“A lot of voters have told us since the election they believed he was opposed to state assets, although during the election campaign he did say provided there were particular safeguards he would support the sale of state assets, so there appeared to be a transition in his position coming up to the election,” says John Maynard, spokesman for People’s Power Ohariu

Pete George (Dunedin North candidate)

I was involved in the election as a candidate in Dunedin North. I was clear on the party position of allowing National to implement their asset sale (Mixed Ownership Model) policy, and United Future of being a check and limit on that. That’s what I campaigned on in Dunedin.

Monique Watson via The Standard

I can personally testify to the fact that he did tell his electorate the details of UF conditional support for State Asset Sales as above. This may have been discussed at the annual conference.

I was regularly at the UnitedFuture Ohariu Electorate Committee meetings. None of the ham-fisted oiks jumping up and down and forming anti asset sales flame groups deigned to present at any of these well-publicised electorate committee meetings.


Election brochure distributed throughout
Ohariu and in other areas

United Future television advertisment.

Asset sales are on National’s agenda, but they cannot be given a blank cheque. Part of United Future’s role as a support partner is to keep the government on a centre path. No extremes.

So we say there should be three assets that should never be sold; Kiwibank, Radio New Zealand, and our water. And that we also need to keep New Zealand control of all our other assets.

Peter Dunne’s Address to the Rotary Club of Auckland
10 October 2011

One issue that New Zealanders will probably more closely assess before November 26 is National’s policy of asset sales.

They have sold it fairly well to date – or more to the point, they have not scared the horses!

People have not thrown their arms up in horror, despite the best efforts of a woeful and desperate Labour Party.

Given that it is a key policy plank for National and will effectively be part and parcel of voting them back in, it is not unreasonable to assume that this country will get a level of asset sales in the next term.

So the question is, where do we go with that?

Part of UnitedFuture’s role as a support partner is not just to contribute our own policies to the governing mix, but to moderate and to keep a government to a reasonable, centrist path.

If New Zealanders vote National back in with a manifesto that includes asset sales, then we say that there need to be some clearer limits on those sales.

New Zealanders, I believe, are not definitively pro-asset sales, but under certain conditions, it is no longer the bogeyman issue that Labour would have you believe.

The polls certainly suggest that to be the case.

So if asset sales are on the way, what boundaries should we have in place around them?

To this point there has not been a proper national debate beyond National saying yes and Labour saying no.

UnitedFuture says that we need to start – and we will push for this – with three no-go areas; three areas where we would seek commitment that there would be no asset sales, not now, not ever:


Radio New Zealand

The supply of water.

We put forward these three for very different, yet similar, reasons.

Kiwibank is in every sense now a national institution.

Kiwis have taken it to their hearts, even if they do not bank with it!

And in a market full of Australian-owned banks, and an increasingly fraught and troubled globe, there is more than sentimental value at stake here.

Kiwibank is a symbolic and practical statement of our economic sovereignty, and it is collectively ours pure and simple.

It must stay that way.

Second, is Radio New Zealand: again there are heart-string reasons and practical ones.

In an increasingly commercial media marketplace, it is more important than ever to have a voice that does not bend to the dollar, to ratings, to external forces.

Every nation needs its own voice and we need to afford that voice our collective protection.

Too often Institutions like Radio New Zealand are only really appreciated after they are lost.

Thirdly, and one that I feel particularly deeply about, is water.

I do not intend to wait until it is on the asset sales agenda.

I do not believe New Zealanders would ever – or should ever – accept a sell-off of the supply of the water, or any of the aspects around it.

Let no one claim for any price what is ours as of right.

There does not need to be a fuss about this.

There just needs to be a blanket and clear undertaking that this will never be on the agenda.

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