Keys says NZers favour asset sales

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealanders support National's plan for partial asset sales.

Mr Key was interviewed by Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB's Leader's Breakfast this morning, and was asked about everything from potential coalition partners to the continuing Tea Tape saga.

The Prime Minister disagreed the Government had failed to sell the policy to public, despite polls showing New Zealanders overwhelmingly reject the policy.

"It depends what question you ask in polls," Mr Key said.

"When people talk about asset sales, they talk about the asset sales Phil Goff did when he was in government, which is 'flog the whole lot'.

"If you went to New Zealanders and said, 'would you like to borrow another $7 billion in the world's markets where debt is a major issue, and that's what has dragged down Italy, and Greece, and Ireland, and Portugal and Spain, or would you like to build new infrastructure at all for the next five years and pretend we're going to be a growth economy, or would you like to have the Air New Zealand model operating in a few more companies' I think you'd get a different answer."

Asked what National would do in the future if New Zealand was in economic trouble and had already partially sold assets, Mr Key said it was a "nonsense argument".

"Come back and ask me 2014," he said.

"The answer is get your books back in surplus by 2014."

Mr Key said he expected a close election, despite Labour's poor showing in the polls.

"It's not just Labour, it's Labour with the Greens, with New Zealand First, with the Mana Party."

"Think about that for a minute.

"We've got a global financial crisis, we've got a huge amount of debt. What do those four parties want to do? For a start off, they want to spend money we don't have. So they are a cocktail for borrowing, that's for sure."

Mr Key said those parties were "volatile", and the country needed a stable government.

He said that while National and the Maori Party disagreed on a lot of policy, they had showed they could work together.


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