Key trying to cover his tracks with false leads
15 March 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT
Key trying to cover his tracks with false leads on $1b claim
John Key has scored an own goal by releasing paperwork to supposedly prove his claim that Solid Energy asked him for a billion dollars when the documents actually show the company wanted to chase billions of dollars from private investors not the Crown, says Labour Leader David Shearer.
“John Key claimed he rejected a bid from Solid Energy for a billion dollars. Former chairman John Palmer says he never asked for a billion dollars. These documents don’t show Solid Energy asking for a billion dollars and the letter from Simon Power doesn’t show him rejecting a request for a billion dollars. So who is telling the truth?
“What the documents do show is that Solid Energy wanted to create a massive new company by raising capital through ‘external’ sources rather than the Crown. The only financial request they made to the Government was to retain their dividends.
“This fits with the fact that in 2010 John Palmer wanted Solid Energy to be partially privatised. At the time he said: “I don’t think it makes a lot of sense for the Crown to put several billion dollars into a company like Solid Energy where it can retain all of its existing ownership and leverage and external capital can provide the opportunities for growth.
“If he thought it wouldn’t make sense for the Crown to invest, why would he have asked them for a billion dollars?
“These documents even point out that Solid Energy ‘does not appear to have any immediate pressing need for capital’ and suggests if they did, they should look to increasing their debt first.
“The documents also prove the Government supported Solid Energy’s expansionary projects, including alternative fuels, lignite and unconventional gas, despite its protestations that it didn’t.
“This document dump is a desperate attempt by John Key to cover his tracks after he made up a story so that he’d look like the white knight riding to the rescue of taxpayers. The truth is he has overseen the collapse of this previously award winning taxpayer-owned company,” said David Shearer.