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Democrats warn country on sale of Taranaki Powerco

Democrats warn country on sale of Taranaki Powerco

The NZ Democrats have asked New Zealanders to take careful note of the implications and outcomes of the latest sale to overseas interests of another slice of our national assets.

“Not only has the sale proceeded against the wishes of the people of Taranaki but the deal is of questionable long-term benefit to them as well” said the democrat Leader, Stephnie de Ruyter. “The purchaser, Prime Infrastructure, has purchased an extremely viable long term investment by way of a cash input of 62.5 per cent of the purchase price with the remaining 37.5 per cent being made up of what the New Zealand Herald’s investment commentator Bryan Gaynor describes as making existing junk bonds look like prime securities.”

“The focus of Prime Infrastructure is maximising the profits of its shareholders and that may come at the cost of quality and quantity of service to Taranaki consumers and will certainly be reflected in the electricity prices” continued Ms de Ruyter. “Effectively the New Plymouth District Council, Taranaki Electricity trust and Powerco Wanganui have given the green light for every energy utility still in taxpayer/consumer hands to be flogged off regardless of the loss of control and income that is part and parcel of such deals.”

Democrats are vehemenently opposed to the continuation of the discredited policies of the past 20 years which have seen major taxpayer funded assets like Telecom, Air New Zealand and TranzRail flogged off to foreign ownership and the profits filling the wallets of foreign investors while New Zealanders pay ever increasing charges for their privilege.

“Looking at the track record of the off-shore ownership of most of the assets sold over the past 20 years must surely give rise to some doubt as to what will happen if Prime Infrastructure comes under financial pressure in the future. Unfortunately, the foreign owners’ emphasis is not on providing operational management of the assets on behalf of the consumer, it is about financial manipulation to maximise profits for their shareholders and financial speculators.”

“When all the family silver has been sold, what heritage remains for future generations of New Zealanders?” concluded the Democrat Leader.

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