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Meridian sale a failure with 62,000 investors

Clayton COSGROVE

SOE Spokesperson

23 October 2013    MEDIA STATEMENT

Meridian sale a failure with 62,000 investors

John Key and Bill English’s asset sales are officially a farce as Meridian was sold off for $1.2 billion less than they promised and attracted just 62,000 investors, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.

“I don’t know how John Key and Bill English can look the taxpayers of New Zealand in the face. They have they sold half of a valuable long term asset for $1.2 billion less than they told the public they would sell it for in 2011. And just 62,000 retail investors, including institutions, bought shares.

“John Key and Bill English threw everything they could at making this sale a success, even offering a Suzanne Paul-style buy now - pay later scheme. Despite offering everything but a free set of steak knives just 62,000 people wanted to buy in.

“The number of investors in Meridian is half that of Mighty River, which was half that of Contact Energy when the National Government sold it in 1999. At this rate of success they will be paying people to buy Genesis Energy shares.

“This is a $1 billion blow out. It is almost impossible that the asset sales will bring in the $5b to $7b John Key promised New Zealanders.

“New Zealanders have realised they have been sold down the river.

“The only winners are the 62,000 retail investors who can afford to buy these shares. That’s just 1.4 per cent of the population.

“That’s a failure by any definition.

“The Government should use the upcoming referendum on asset sales as a face-saving exercise. The result will give the government the reason it desperately needs to stop the programme,” says Clayton Cosgrove.

ENDS

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