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Another nail in the coffin of asset sales con

27 May 2013

Another nail in the coffin of asset sales con

The release of Treasury’s definition of who was a ‘retail investor’ in the sale of Mighty River Power shares is a further nail in the coffin of National’s myth that it was selling shares to ordinary Kiwi ‘mums and dads’, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

The definition, released to Newstalk ZB, shows that ‘retail investors’ “include companies, trusts or New Zealand investment institutions” and, contrary to the impression given by government ministers, was not limited to individual New Zealanders. This follows the release of Green Party research, confirmed by Treasury, showing that half the retail shares went to just 13,000 people and organisations, with just 400 receiving 10 percent of the retail shares sold.

“This is another nail in the coffin of National’s asset sales con,” said Dr Norman.

“National said that 113,000 ‘mums and dads’ had bought Mighty River Power shares. Now, we learn that companies, trusts, and financial institutions were counted by National as ‘mums and dads’.

“First, less than half the number of retail investors that the Government expected showed up to by Mighty River Power shares. Then, we learned that half the retail shares had gone to just 13,000 people and organisations investing $35,000 each and 10 percent went to 400 who put in nearly a quarter of a million dollars each on average. Now, it has been revealed that many of the ‘mum and dad’ investors weren’t actually individual Kiwis at all.

“National said that it was going to sell these assets to ordinary New Zealanders. That was always a con, and the facts prove it.

“How many ordinary New Zealanders actually bought shares in Mighty River, and what portion of the company do they own? Does John Key even know?

“What’s clear is that the asset sales are a failure in National’s own terms. Most shares aren’t being bought by ordinary average Kiwis; they’re being bought by trusts, financiers, and foreign investors.

“Any further asset sales will only be worse in this regard because Mighty River Power has already given New Zealanders a chance to buy into a partially-privatised electricity company and they overwhelmingly rejected it. If ordinary Kiwis didn’t want to buy into Mighty River Power, who’s going to buy Meridian?

“National should listen to the people of New Zealand, who have opposed asset sales from Day One, and cancel the rest of its privatisation agenda,” said Dr Norman.

ends

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