Asset sales cash used as Govt 'slush fund' – Peters

Asset sales cash used as Govt 'slush fund' – Peters

Proceeds from National's state asset sell-off is being used to cover all sorts of costs like the TVNZ video archive, membership of an Asian bank and a visitor centre at Government House.

That's despite Finance Minister Bill English promising in 2011 that all revenue from the sales would be put in a Future Investment Fund to pay for "schools, hospitals, roads, rail and public transport".

Asset sales cash used as Govt 'slush fund' – Peters

 

But the latest breakdown of the fund's expenditure shows just 55 percent of the spending fits that brief.

So what happened to the money?

Asset sales cash used as Govt 'slush fund' – Peters

 

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

One big ticket item is our membership to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank which was funded as part of this year's Budget and came in at a cost of $144M.

World Bank

Another bank membership has also been paid for out of the fund. In 2014, the fund was used to pay $23 million for a subscription to the World Bank. 

Computer programme for ministers

Some of the cash was also splashed on the Prime Minister and Cabinet with investment into a document management project, CABnet, which received $2.6M in 2012 and a further $1.8M in 2014 -- a total of $4.4M.

Doing up Government House

In all, $500,000 was also allocated to the Prime Minister and Cabinet to be spent on a new Visitor Centre at Government House in 2012. 

Miscellaneous

Modernising the War Pensions Act 1954 and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act was allocated $6M.

Asset sales cash used as Govt 'slush fund' – Peters

 

NZ First leader Winston Peters says it's a "slush fund" and a "rort".

"It's been spent on everything but the Prime Minister's underpants.

"How can the Prime Minister justify raiding this fund for $4.4 million for the Cabinet's new document management system or $6 million to modernise the War Pensions Act 1954 and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act?

"It is clear National treated this asset sales fund as a slush fund to underwrite its sleight of hand surplus."

The partial sale of Genesis Energy, Mighty River Power, Meridian, and Air New Zealand raised $4.7 billion, despite projections it would be between $5 billion and $7 billion.

Of that, $787 million has been spent on schools, $681 million in health and $1.18 billion in transport. That all adds up to $2.6 billion - just 55 percent of the total.

Asset sales cash used as Govt 'slush fund' – Peters

The people who bought into the assets also got some of the cash, with $40 million going toward the Mighty River Share Loyalty Bonus Scheme and $1.1 million toward the Genesis IPO book build.

Internal Affairs also chewed up some of the cash with $11 million going toward the TVNZ archive, $12.5 million toward funding RealMe (the Government's online authentication programme) and $23 million for the Passports Memorandum Account.

"So how is $23 million for the Passports Memorandum Account, $12.5 million for the RealMe online authentication and verification service, $23 million for New Zealand's World Bank Subscription and $7.9 million preparing for the 2018 Census, a road, a hospital, a school or even, an asset?," Mr Peters said.

In this year's Budget part of the huge investment into tax came from the future investment fund too, with $63 million toward "implementing New Zealand's Future Revenue System".

Newshub.

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