Where did the asset sales money go? The slush fund pretty much according to Winston Peters … not where Bill English said it would go:
“The fund will provide New Zealanders with better public assets, such as modern schools, hospitals, roads, rail and public transport without increasing the debt burden on future generations” Bill English, Finance Minister 2012
This sounds like a cruel joke in light of current events. Pollution is so rife (thinking the honourable minister’s “future generations” statement) wild food is now so poisoned it’s largely inedible, waters we can only wade in, and hospitals, roads, rail etc have never been worse! I heard recently of a person who lay for literally hours in a cold corridor in one of our hospitals’ A&E (known as ED elsewhere) crying out for the toilet, too sick to get up, who got a round telling off when she soiled the bed! Waits in there currently can be many many hours. Still according to the minister, who doubtless on his salary can afford private insurance, membership fees for the IMF is far more important, to the tune of $23 million*. Remember this image? So why ever would Bill & his colleagues want us to prosper?
*(A fellow blogger tells me the IMF cost is FACTA legislation and should have been paid for by the US government as it is their legislation, read about FACTA at her blog here).
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”.
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?
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.
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.
Modernising the War Pensions Act 1954 and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act was allocated $6M.
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