UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne said today the ‘Keep Kiwibank Bill’, a private Members’ Bill sponsored by Labour’s David Parker, is unnecessary and consequently, UnitedFuture has voted against it at its Second Reading.

“As part of the 2011 Confidence and Supply Agreement between UnitedFuture and National it was agreed there would be no sale of Kiwibank to private sector interests. The success of Kiwibank and the support the bank has received from New Zealanders with its growing customer base, clearly vindicated UnitedFuture’s position. For the bank to develop and expand its operations however, now requires a significant injection of capital.

“The recent proposed investment by way of partial sale to two public sector entities, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and ACC, provides the necessary capital funds for Kiwibank to grow and enables two significant taxpayer-owned entities to invest in a solid  New Zealand based enterprise while most importantly, retaining 100% public ownership of the Bank. For those reasons, UnitedFuture wholeheartedly supported this investment deal”, said Mr Dunne.

The advent of the Keep Kiwibank Bill, now threatens the viability of that deal.

“Since the First Reading of the Bill and subsequent referral to Select Committee consideration, which UnitedFuture supported, I have been advised by the parties involved in this investment sale and purchase, that the Parliamentary veto proposal in the Bill, rather than giving  greater clarity  for complete public ownership of the Bank and ensuring its investment and capital worth, it in fact does the opposite, such that the potential investment partners, ACC and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, would likely not proceed with investing in Kiwibank.

“I am not prepared to see that happen”, Mr Dunne said.

In discussions Mr Dunne has had on this issue with both the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister he has made clear to them that his decision to oppose the Bill’s Second Reading strengthens UnitedFuture’s resolve to ensure the continued viability of Kiwibank and its retention as a publicly owned entity.

“I have told them unequivocally that it is a bottom line issue for UnitedFuture that no part of Kiwibank can be sold to private interests and our continued support for the National-led government for the remainder of this Parliamentary term is contingent on it honouring this undertaking agreed between our two parties in 2011. The Prime Minister has given me that undertaking.

“So long as United Future is part of the current Government, the public ownership is guaranteed”, said Mr Dunne.

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