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And so the fire sale begins

Clayton Cosgrove
Spokesperson for SOEs

15 December 2011

And so the fire sale begins

Like more than 80 per cent of Kiwis, Labour is prepared to fight tooth and nail to stop National’s state asset fire sale, Labour’s spokesperson for SOEs, Clayton Cosgrove, says.

“Mighty River Power today drew the short straw, becoming the first of New Zealand’s profitable state-owned assets to be sold off under National’s hugely unpopular privatisation agenda.

“Labour is vigorously opposed to the sale of these hard-earned, taxpayer-owned assets. And we know the majority of Kiwis are overwhelmingly with us on this,” Clayton Cosgrove said.

“Mighty River has obviously been chosen as National’s guinea pig. Depending on the ‘success’ – and that’s a word I use extremely hesitantly – of that sell down, we can expect it will be followed by Genesis, Meridian, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand.

“The current owners of Mighty River – the New Zealand public – will gain nothing from the sell down.

“Treasury has already warned that restricting shareholding sizes will weaken National’s debt reduction argument and not, as John Key claims, prevent the on-sale of shares to foreign buyers.

“It also argues that there is little room to operate any of these companies more efficiently, meaning the only way to make profits will be through higher power prices.

“And that will affect every single one of us.

“Power generators are guaranteed to return consistent dividends. To lose them will leave New Zealand poorer and more vulnerable to future economic shocks.

“I am urging other political parties to stand behind the hundreds of thousands of Kiwis who have voiced their concerns over asset sales, and to hold the Government to account on this issue.

“Labour will continue to fight passionately for causes we believe in, for a fairer New Zealand,” Clayton Cosgrove said.


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