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Govt Pockets Cash As Electricity Consumers Suffer

The Government must urgently address the fact its own companies are profiteering from the current electricity crisis, National's Tony Ryall and Pansy Wong said today.

"The Electricity Industry Bill being debated under urgency today will do nothing to fix the problems caused by low rainfall.

"The Government is the big winner out of the current crisis. The state-owned generators are stuffing the Government's pockets with cash; it is pocketing the loot while small business people face a six-fold increase in the price of electricity.

"Right now, State-Owned Enterprises Minister, Mark Burton, is meeting SOE boards to discuss how much profit he can get out of them this financial year, as part of the annual Statement of Corporate Intent negotiation process.

"If the Government is seriously concerned, it should be demanding that the SOE boards divulge how much extra profit is being made by their generation and retail business, and how much is coming from residential and small business customers. The Government should assure New Zealanders its own companies are not making excessive profits by revealing what those profits are.

"This is not about reducing profits, it is about addressing obscene profits.

"When New Zealand Post started making excessive profits in the mid 1990's, the SOE moved to lower the price of a postage stamp. This brought its rate of return to a more commercial level.

"Section 4 of the State-Owned Enterprises Act requires a company to 'exhibit a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates'. If the Government was in charge, it would move to address the obscene profit it is making out of this crisis," Mr Ryall and Mrs Wong said.

Ends


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