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C & R spins privatisation agenda

C & R spins privatisation agenda


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    C & R spins privatisation agenda

    The privatisation of electricity by a share float is about creating opportunities for wealth for the shareholders who buy those shares. It has nothing to do with provision of electricity in the public interest, Powerlynk says.

    The claim by Citizens and Ratepayers Now that their campaign is about keeping Vector "public" is pure spin, says Powerlynk candidate Jill Ovens.

    "They are advocating an initial share float of up to 25% of the lines company Vector because people like John Collinge who own Vector bonds stand to benefit personally if a float happens by 2006," Ms Ovens says.

    According to the Vector Annual Report, Mr Collinge, who is an AECT trustee, a Vector director, deputy chair of both bodies and a candidate for the AECT elections next week, holds 200,000 Vector bonds (125,000 in his own right and 75,000 through a family trust).

    "That's more than any other director, but nearly all of the Vector directors have them. Owning these bonds gives the holders preferential rights in a share float. Thus they have a vested interest in finding growth opportunities, such as expanding into Australia or getting into power generation, that would require large scale investment in order to justify a share float."

    Ms Ovens says the only way for the public to maintain their rightful control of this essential public service is to retain 100% ownership.

    C&R is being mischievous in distinguishing between "ownership" and "control" when it comes to privatisation, she says. The US Department of Energy defines privatisation as "any movement that diminishes public ownership and control and increases private ownership and control".

    Ms Ovens says Powerlynk candidates have been talking to people in shopping centres and markets throughout the region and they are finding almost unanimous support for 100% ownership of our electricity. She says people know there is a direct link between privatisation of electricity and large-scale blackouts in California, the north-eastern US, New York, and Canada, as well as Italy.

    "New Zealanders did not ask for the electricity reforms that were foisted on them by Max Bradford during Warren Kyd's chairmanship of the Energy Select Committee. The people did not demand, nor did they want unaccountable corporate structures that focus on profit-making. Their main concern is customer service and security of supply. People want to know that when they turn on the switch, their lights will come on."

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