Bill English’s casual remarks about privatising Kiwibank are undermining the strength of its “It’s ours” brand, the Green Party said today.
“Bill English’s irresponsible comments over possible privatisation are damaging Kiwibank’s ‘It’s ours’ brand and Kiwibank’s ability to compete effectively against the big four Australian banks,” said Green Party Co-leader, Dr Russel Norman.
“New Zealanders have strong feelings about the billions of dollars of bank profits being sent overseas. They are joining Kiwibank in large numbers because it belongs to us. By putting privatisation on the table, Bill English has made it tougher for Kiwibank to win new customers.”
In answers to Oral Questions in the House today, the Finance Minister admitted to taking no advice on possible damage to Kiwibank’s brand prior to discussing the potential sale of the Bank.
“With a casual ill-thought out comment, Bill English has essentially compromised Kiwibank’s brand and value,” said Dr Norman.
Kiwibank has experienced remarkable growth in its eight-year life. 700,000
New Zealanders now trust the bank with $10 billion of their assets. The current value of Kiwibank’s intangible assets (goodwill, software, and acquired customers) was last valued at $43 million.
“There’s no practical way the Government could privatise Kiwibank while retaining New Zealand ownership. Capital markets have no borders and ownership goes to the highest bidder,” said Dr Norman.
“Kiwibank was founded on the strength of it being ours. Privatisation would remove the one competitive distinction Kiwibank has.”