The big sell off of our major public assets promoted by PM John Key, avidly supported by rightwing ACT MP John Banks, has got under way with almost indecent haste.
In what must be one of the greatest ‘Con’ jobs since Thatcher blazed the way in Britain, Kiwis with the spare cash are being invited to pay up for what they already own.
Meanwhile, everyone will lose — because half the huge profits generated by the big power companies will no longer go into the public purse each year.
And we’ll be paying out $100 million or so in fees to investment ‘consultants’ for the privilege of losing our own assets. Were she not senile, Mrs Thatcher would be proud of the two Johns.
Mercury Energy will be the first state owned enterprise to be privatised in the government’s plans to sell 49% stakes in five SOE’s over the next three years.
Mercury — a trading arm of Mighty River Power dealing in the electricity retail market — has been considered as the most ready for sale.
Up to 49 per cent of its shares which will be sold on an open market. The government will remain with a minimum 51 per cent controlling stake.
Finance minister Bill English and SOE Minister Tony Ryall assured Kiwi’s that the part-sale would put New Zealanders “at the front of the queue” for share allocations and that no single share holder other than the government would be allowed to own more that 10 per cent of any of the companies that will be put up for sale.
They gave no clues as to which state owned company would be the next on the list for part privatisation, but have identified Meridian Energy and Genesis Energy, along with coal mining company Solid Energy and airline Air New Zealand as prime candidates for sale.
Ryall has stated that the government will probably stump up around $100 million in fees to investment banks preparing the partial sell-down of the New Zealand owned power companies
Bill English talked down the threat to the programme caused by volatile financial markets, saying the prospect of a steady return from utility companies was more attractive that other investment opportunities, and is a better method of clamping down on new government debt.