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Kiwi Party to sell part of SOEs to NZ shareholders

Gordon Copeland Press Release
EMBARGOED: 10am, Saturday 9th August

Kiwi Party to sell part of SOEs to NZ shareholders

Speaking at the Party’s inaugural National Conference, Independent MP Gordon Copeland, today announced that The Kiwi Party will sell 20% of the State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to “mum and dad investors”, provided they are resident in New Zealand.

“Let me be crystal clear about the matter,” said Mr Copeland. “Kiwi will not sell one single share unless it is to a New Zealand resident individual or organisation.”

“I fully appreciate that kiwis are dead against selling off SOEs to private investors because they rightly resent the ridiculous way in which key assets such as Telecom, the Bank of New Zealand, and NZ Rail were flogged off to overseas owners by previous Labour and National governments.”

“However that does not mean that the debate should be reduced to a simplistic choice between the two options of ‘own the lot’ or ‘sell the lot’.”

“Fortunately there is a middle way which is also a better way for New Zealand. Under our policy, SOEs will remain 100% kiwi owned and controlled, but the 20% sale will create new investment opportunities for kiwi residents (including the NZ Super Fund) to invest in New Zealand. At the same time this sale will release several billion dollars of new funds for investment in the nation’s infrastructure, including roads, rail, schools, hospitals, and ports.”

“We desperately need more infrastructure investment but National’s ‘borrow the lot’ policy is not the only way to go about it.”

“The new investment opportunities for kiwis which this policy open up are also hugely important. SOEs collectively represent an estimated value which is equivalent to 40% of the $59 billion market capitalisation of the companies listed in the NZ Stock Exchange. However, since many of those listed companies are overseas owned and controlled, New Zealand investors, including the NZ Super Fund, have limited opportunities to invest in good quality companies which are NZ owned and controlled.”

“This is one of the reasons why the NZ Super Fund can invest only around 7.5% of its total share portfolio in New Zealand and it is also one of the reasons why kiwi mums and dad have found it necessary to invest so heavily in the ‘junk bond’ investments offered by some finance companies.”

“Importantly, once SOEs are listed on the Stock Exchange, their directors will then be elected by a wide representation of New Zealanders, rather than simply stacked with the government of the day’s cronies and they will face all the Exchange’s reporting disciplines, like any other listed company.”

“I believe that the current SOE arrangements are suboptimal for the NZ economy. This change in existing policy will ignite a rapid expansion of the NZ economy because the SOEs are such a large player. It will increase the prosperity of all New Zealanders.”

“Kiwi believes that we should not allow the socialist ideology of Labour or the timidity of National to stand in the way of commonsense when it comes to an issue of this magnitude and importance.”

Mr Copeland also pointed out that the new borrowing proposed by National for infrastructure investment could be avoided entirely by simply allowing kiwis to have a 20% direct ownership stake in their own companies.

ENDS

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