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Govt must be up-front about sale of Solid Energy assets

6 March 2014

Govt must be up-front about sale of Solid Energy assets

Today in Parliament the Green Party exposed the National Government’s possible plans for backdoor privatisation of state-owned energy company Solid Energy.

“In Parliament today, National wouldn’t rule out selling chunks of Solid Energy’s operations to foreign public sector companies, which amounts to backdoor privatisation,” said Green Party mining spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

Energy Minister Simon Bridges met with the Indian Steel Minister and his delegation on 30 January 2014.

“Minister Bridges kept his meeting with the Indian Steel Minster hush-hush in New Zealand, while the Steel Minister was quoted in the Indian media as saying, “We are looking forward to the Government of New Zealand allocating mineral assets to Indian public sector companies on a government-to-government basis,” said Ms Delahunty.

“The National Government is misleading the public by saying it will not sell more state-owned assets while at the same time it has been discussing selling off chunks of our state-owned energy company Solid Energy.”

Minister for Business, Employment and Innovation Steven Joyce was unclear when questioned in Parliament, saying that it was a matter for Solid Energy, while in select committee today, Solid Energy officials said the discussions of sales were a matter for the Minister.

“The Government should stop passing the buck and front up to New Zealanders about any plans to sell Solid Energy assets,” Ms Delahunty said.

“The Green Party would keep New Zealand assets in New Zealand ownership.

“In particular, the Green Party would keep Solid Energy’s coal mines and mining rights in Government ownership in order to run Solid Energy in the best interests of New Zealanders.

“Once the Indian Government or Indian public sector companies get their hands on Solid Energy’s coal mines or rights to mine, they will develop these resources in their shareholders’ interests, not those of New Zealanders.”

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