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Powerco Deal Stinks Says Peters

30 September 2004

Powerco Deal Stinks Says Peters

Rt Hon Winston Peters has renewed his attack on Prime Infrastructure’s deal with the New Plymouth District Council and Taranaki Electricity Trust to buy their majority shareholding in the energy company Powerco.

The shares are being paid for by a mixture of cash and bonds but a clause in Prime’s takeover bid means that overseas Powerco shareholders get 100 percent cash and this resulted in frenzied trading yesterday as other Kiwis offloaded their shares overseas.

Mr Peters described the situation as a debacle and warned that the people of Taranaki, who owned the majority shareholding through the council and trust, could end up with a pile of IOUs and payment on the never-never.

“This is an appalling situation and in their haste to flog off a valuable locally owned asset the New Plymouth District Council and Taranaki Electricity Trust have let local people down very badly.

“How dumb can you get? Who in their right minds would swap a majority shareholding in a rich public company for a few pieces of paper?

“There is no doubt this sale has been bungled by a group of commercially inept people who had no public mandate to let control of the company go to Australia.

“The Aussies certainly know how to sniff out a good deal and they also know how to find some dumb Kiwis to take to the cleaners.

“The Minister of Finance, who is in charge of the Overseas Investment Commission, will let the people of New Zealand down very badly if he rubber stamps approval of this deal,” said Mr Peters.


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