Delaying tactics over assets bill to continue
Wed, 20 Jun 2012 5:18a.m.
Parliament is set for another aggressive debate today as Labour MPs continue their delaying tactics over asset sales legislation.
The Government has to pass the bill before it can sell 49 percent of the shares in four state-owned energy companies and opposition parties are fighting every clause.
They clashed with Government MPs on Tuesday night, describing partial privatisation of the companies as "economic madness" and saying surveys had shown more than 70 percent of voters opposed the policy.
The Government expects to raise about $6 billion from the share float and ministers say the alternative is to borrow the money, which it won't do.
"Countries that can't control their debt don't control their destinies," State-owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall said.
National MPs jeered their opponents when Mr Ryall produced details of assets sold by a Labour government in the 1980s.
Mr Ryall said 15 went on the block and were sold for nearly $10 billion - and voters weren't told before the 1984 election that any assets would be sold.
Labour MPs have put up 34 amendments to the Mixed Ownership Model Bill, and although they won't get any of them through it takes time to debate them.
The Government hopes it will get the bill through its committee stage by Wednesday night.
After that it still has to pass its final stage, the third reading, which is a two-hour debate.
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