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Alliance media release re Contact Energy

Alliance media release re Contact Energy

Time to take our electricity back from power-mad corporates and dim bulb bureaucrats, says Alliance Party

The Alliance says the corporate games of the electricity industry are out of control after a billion dollar plus purchase was forgotten about by the Government agency responsible for approving foreign ownership of New Zealand companies.

Origin Energy of Australia made a $1.7 billion purchase of Edison Mission Energy’s (US) 51% stake in Contact Energy in 2004.

But overseas investment watchdog group CAFCA could find no trace of an approval in any of the monthly Decisions of the Overseas Investment Commission (OIC, which is now the Overseas Investment Office of Land Information NZ).

Alliance co-leader Paul Piesse says control of the New Zealand electricity industry is being shuttled between overseas corporates while ordinary people suffer from rising prices.

"It turned out that the state agency had forgotten about it and only remembered when they received an inquiry from CAFCA – a year after the event," says Mr Piesse.

Mr Piesse says retrospective consent was given on August 18, 2005, in what was a bizarre case of a vital national asset being passed around like a parcel by overseas corporates.

He says the Alliance will return electricity to public control, so that New Zealanders receive affordable power in a democratic and accountable system.

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