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Stop the sale of Lyttelton Port - Greens

10 April 2006

Stop the sale of Lyttelton Port - Greens

Ownership of Lyttelton Port should be retained in public hands, and it is shocking that there has been no public consultation about its proposed sale, Green Party MP Metiria Turei says.

Mrs Turei will speak tonight at a public meeting to oppose the Christchurch City Council's bid to take over the port company. If successful, the council, through its public assets company Christchurch City Holdings Ltd (CCHL), plans to sell half its shares to Hong Kong-based global port company Hutchison Port Holdings, effectively privatising the port and putting it into foreign ownership.

"It is appalling that the council have not consulted the people of Christchurch over this proposed sale. If they did they would find widespread opposition to it," Mrs Turei says.

"The Port of Lyttelton has benefited for decades from investment of ratepayers' funds, and now provides a good return to its majority public owners. Such a valuable asset should be retained for the long-term public good, not sold off to international owners for a quick profit.

"The Christchurch City Council should stop going behind the back of ratepayers by attempting to proceed with this sale without public consultation," Mrs Turei says.

CCHL's share offer closes on Wednesday 12 April. A condition on the offer, that it would only proceed if CCHL gained 90 percent of all shares, has now been dropped, but it is possible that the sale to Hutchison Port Holdings will still proceed.

Councillors were last week presented with a petition signed by more than 850 people asking for the port to be retained in public hands, and a picket protesting the sale was held outside council chambers.

"If this public asset is sold without assent or even consultation with its public shareholders, a very dangerous precedent will have been set. The continuing sale of local assets to overseas interests has significant negative impacts on a national scale, and this is something I will address in my speech this evening," Mrs Turei says.

Others speakers at tonight's meeting include Sir Kerry Burke, Murray Horton from the Campaign against Foreign Control of Aotearoa, and secretaries from rail and maritime unions.

What: Keep Our Port Public! - Public Meeting When: 7.30pm, Monday 10 April Where: The Limes Room, Christchurch Town Hall


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