|My, how things have changed|
Nick Smith today announced that the remaining power companies would not be floated on the stock market as planned, but instead given away to charity.
Nick has confirmed that charities will make better use of New Zealand's assets and ensure the poor and destitute people of NZ are catered for. He was quick to add that the government was working tirelessly to ensure all New Zealanders would fit the criteria of "poor and destitute" so would not miss out.
"I was talking about wanting to shift from a state [owned] model to a social [owned] model," Smith said of his initial comments.
"Many community organisations with funding support are able to provide a better service for people needing [electricity]. New Zealand is behind the pace internationally. Europe, North America and Australia have far larger community sectors."
Community groups and charities could provide more than just [electricity] for people, he said, citing the Salvation Army's work with alcoholics and substance abusers, or other agencies who work with the intellectually disabled and the mentally unwell.
Nick was excited that giving up to 30 billion to charity would result in a huge tax rebate for the government. "We'll get 33% rebate back, which goes to show how financially responsible we are."
As well as giving our remaining energy companies to charity, Nick has found another 12,000 state homes that might be tossed into the deal - another few billion of tax payer assets to be given to a worthy cause.
"Basically, we are driving a hard bargain - have everything we've got, for free, and then after that we'll continue to use tax payer money to fund selected charities, as we've always done.
Link: Govt plans to give it all away
UP to 12,000 state houses could be transferred to community groups and charities under a plan outlined by Housing Minister Nick Smith today.
Smith's ambition is to see Housing NZ scaled back to provide far less a share of what he called "social housing".