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Greens undecided on asset buy-back policy

Wednesday 20 Jun 2012 12:53 p.m.

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The Green Party will not commit to a policy of buying back state-owned assets after they have been partially sold by the Government.

Yesterday New Zealand First announced it would try to buy back any assets partially floated on the stock market, a policy that would likely cost around $7 billion, but Green co-leader Russel Norman told Firstline this morning he is not rushing to make the same promise.

“We’d look at the situation but obviously you don’t want to make any kind of statements about it now because you don’t want to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to be in the market to buy a whole lot of shares,’ because all you’re going to do is drive up the price,” says Dr Norman.

The Greens say the Government is being reckless by selling at such a rough time on world markets but supporters of the plan say it must go ahead.

“There is no ringfencing of Government money in the end because it all goes in the same Budget, so without asset sales we would definitely go further into debt,” says NZ Initiative executive-director Olivier Hartwich.

The bill now looks set to pass into law with the support of Peter Dunne and John Banks.

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