Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Minister tells Q+A that next SOE Float will be October

Minister tells TVNZ’s Q+A programme that the next state owned asset  float will take place in October.
 
Minister for State Owned Enterprises Tony Ryall told Political Editor Corin Dann that it will be another energy company with more details to be announced in Thursday’s Budget.
 
“Well, that’s going to be announced in the Budget on Thursday.  I can tell you one thing – it is an energy company, and I would expect that New Zealanders would have an opportunity to buy shares in that company – minority shares – around about October.”
 
Tony Ryall also said he couldn’t rule out shares in the Air New Zealand, which is already partially privatised, being sold off this year.
 
“No, I can’t rule that out.  Ministers are going to consider the Air New Zealand shareholding in the next few weeks, and then we’ll take advice and make a decision on that.”
 
But he concedes that circumstances would have to be right.
 
“Look, you’d have to look at some very favourable conditions for the Government to get a number of floats away after this one.  We haven’t yet made a decision on the Air NewZealand timing.”
Mr Ryall wouldn’t say if the Government expected investor interest in the other assets to exceed that of Mighty River, but that the Government’s objective remains to have more New Zealanders investing in these companies.
 
Q+A, 9-10am Sundays on TV ONE and one hour later on TV ONE plus 1. Repeated Sunday evening at 11:30pm. Streamed live at www.tvnz.co.nz   
 
Thanks to the support from NZ On Air.
 
Q+A is on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/NZQandA#!/NZQandA and on Twitter, http://twitter.com/#!/NZQandA
 
 
Q + A
CORIN DANN INTERVIEWS TONY RYALL
 
CORIN           Good morning, Minister.
 
TONY RYALL – Minister for State Owned Enterprises
            Good morning, Corin.
 
CORIN           When you set out on this process, you really wanted to get as many mums and dads investors, to use that phrase – not a particularly good one.  You didn’t really achieve that, though, in the end, did you?  Bill English admitted in Parliament this week, you didn’t really get that middle New Zealand you were looking for.
 
TONY             Well, I certainly think 80,000 first-time investors is a very very good achievement; 113,000 everyday New Zealanders owning shares in Mighty River Power.  Sure, it’s not what we might have got if we’d got the level of interest, for example, that we’ve had in the Contact Energy float, but, actually, it’s still 113,000 people.  I think that’s a very good number of new investors—
 
CORIN           What went wrong?
 
TONY             ...particularly when you consider the scare campaign from the head-high tackle that the Opposition parties tried.
           
CORIN           All right, let’s deal with that scare campaign.  When that power policy came out, we had talk of North Korea, there was going to be capital flight from New Zealand, the international community would give up on us, but, in fact, all the evidence from this float shows that international investors were dead keen on getting into Mighty River Power and weren’t put off at all.
 
TONY             Well, I certainly think those criticisms are quite valid that have been made of their proposal.  What’s also become clear over the last few weeks is that the Labour- Greens power proposal wasn’t very well thought through.  They didn’t understand the consequences of what they’re doing—
 
CORIN           Just back to the question, Minister, with all due respect.  The international investors were not scared off New Zealand by that policy.  There is no capital flight because of that policy.
 
TONY             Well, there’s certainly a lot of interest from overseas in these shares in Mighty River Power.  I think the damaging thing that the Opposition parties did was deny a whole lot of everyday New Zealanders an opportunity to participate in the Mighty River Power float.  Look, we’re in a very good position today.  We’ve now got $1.7 billion of cash which we can use to control debt.  We don’t have to borrow that money any more.  But more importantly, we’ve got New Zealand back on the radar as a place to invest in.  We’ve got a very small sharemarket in comparison to what other countries might have in an economy the size of New Zealand.
 
CORIN           Sure, but you do you accept perhaps—?
 
TONY             So we do need to provide more opportunities for investors, and that’s what this is about.
           
CORIN           Do you accept perhaps that your reaction— your reaction to Labour’s policy might have actually made it worse?
 
TONY             Oh, no, not at all.  The Opposition parties have been campaigning for over two years against this float.  They’ve thrown everything at it, including the kitchen sink, and they petitioned, which came up very short – a real fizzer.  What this government’s been doing is giving opportunities to New Zealanders.  And I think the noise around the Labour-Green policy really did scare off a number of everyday New Zealanders from participating, but in the end, I think 80,000 first-time investors is a very good result, and I certainly think there’s an opportunity for more New Zealanders to think about it as the further offers come down the pipe.
 
CORIN           Will you with the next floats do this business where you offer—essentially you set the price a little bit low, you get a bounce after it lists, you’re effectively giving those shareholders who do invest a little bit of a premium and make them feel good – will you do that for the next floats?
 
TONY             Well, I think if you ask anybody who’s involved in a public float, they’ll tell you that everyone tries to aim for a small uplift on float.  Certainly, the Government wants New Zealanders to have a good experience in the number of partial floats that we’re looking at doing.  That’s because we want to encourage more New Zealanders to invest in the share market.  And that was one of the main objectives that the Government’s had – widespread ownership, encouraging New Zealanders to look at the opportunity of saving through the share market.
           
CORIN           But do you think for Meridian or for Genesis, whichever one is next, that you will get that extra bounce in numbers because people see it go on the share market, it’s gone up a few cents, they’ll think, ‘Oh, things aren’t so bad,’ and come back in – is that what you were hoping for?
 
TONY             Well, look, that’s a decision that investors will have to make at the time, and it’s not appropriate for us to speculate on what the price might be or what the impact may be after the next floats.   The Government’s objectives have always been pretty clear.  We want to get as many ordinary New Zealanders participating in these things as possible.  We want more New Zealanders looking at the share market as an option for saving.  And as I said, you know, if you compare with Australia, we’ve only got about two-thirds of the number of New Zealanders investing in the share market that the Australians have got.  We need to provide more opportunities for New Zealanders, and that’s part of what the partial sales are about.
 
CORIN           But is it fair, Minister, that for the taxpayers who didn’t buy in to Mighty River Power to effectively be handing over some money to those who did invest, who get a nice little bounce after the price— after the listing.  I mean, you’re giving them a gift.
 
TONY             Well, I think that— Look, the New Zealanders who haven’t bought shares in Mighty River Power are in a very good position today.  They still continue to own 51% of the company, and we’ve got $1.7 billion of cash that we don’t need to borrow from overseas banks any more, and that’s going to be invested in other assets in New Zealand, such as the Christchurch hospitals—
           
CORIN           Could I just pick you up on that borrowing?
 
TONY             …which other people can participate in.
 
CORIN           On the borrowing – look at the Crown accounts just until March this year, and your debt is $1.4 billion lower than anticipated within the space of, what, a few months – nine months – and you’re talking about $1.7 billion dollars there.  An improving economy means you don’t have to borrow.
 
TONY             Well, we’re certainly on a trajectory to borrow more money over the next year or so.  That’s the reason why we’re trying to get and we are going to get the economy into surplus, so we don’t have to keep borrowing.  Very important to remember that the sales proceeds from these mixed-ownership model companies go into the Future Investment Fund.  It means we don’t have to borrow from overseas banks to continue investing in important social infrastructure like schools and hospitals.
           
CORIN           You can borrow at 3.5%.  It’s never been cheaper.  It’s not an issue borrowing.
 
TONY             Well, if that’s the case, then why doesn’t the Government go and borrow every dollar it can and buy every business?  That’s not a sensible argument.  The Government’s argument is that we’ve had these investments in these companies; we think there’s a lot of opportunities in freeing up 49% of them.  Today we’ve got $1.7 billion in cash from the Mighty River Power float, which allows us to invest elsewhere and not borrow that money.
 
CORIN           All right, the next float – so, we’re looking at August and then possibly October?
 
TONY             Well, that’s going to be announced in the Budget on Thursday.  I can tell you one thing – it is an energy company, and I would expect that New Zealanders would have an opportunity to buy shares in that company – minority shares – around about October.
           
CORIN           Can you rule out Air New Zealand this year?
 
TONY             No, I can’t rule that out.  Ministers are going to consider the Air New Zealand shareholding in the next few weeks, and then we’ll take advice and make a decision on that.
 
CORIN           So it’s possible we could see that as the number three this year if conditions are right?
 
TONY             Look, you’d have to look at some very favourable conditions for the Government to get a number of floats away after this one.  We haven’t yet made a decision on the Air New Zealand timing.
           
CORIN           It is different, Air New Zealand, though, isn’t it, because airlines are very volatile.  Do you want mums and dads – so-called mums and dads – investing in Air New Zealand when it’s a lot more volatile than an energy company?
 
TONY             Well, already we’ve got New Zealanders investing in Air New Zealand.  It’s already on the New Zealand Stock Exchange.  That’s what makes it somewhat different to—
 
CORIN           First-time investors?
 
TONY             Well, they may have an opportunity as well, so we have yet to make decisions on Air New Zealand.  The Government’s objectives still remain the same with Air New Zealand – we want as widespread New Zealand ownership as possible.
           
CORIN           Are you confident you can get more than the 113,000 next time round in the next energy company?  The risks are still there.  The same risks – Tiwai Point, Labour’s power policy, Maori water rights – they haven’t gone away.   
 
TONY             Well, those risks are all there, and I think what the Mighty River Power float has shown is that investors and the markets as such are able to accommodate all these risks and factor them in.  Certainly, the Government’s objective is we’d like to get more everyday New Zealanders participating in these companies directly on the sharemarket, and that again will be one of our big objectives.
 
CORIN           What’s the number?
 
TONY             Well, I’m not going to give you a number on what we might be expecting in the one.
           
CORIN           You wanted 225,000—
 
TONY             We want as wide as possible.
 
CORIN           Can you get 225,000?
 
TONY             Well, we’re going to be working to make sure we get as many New Zealanders as possible.  I think that now that the Labour-Greens ankle tap is out of the way, New Zealanders will be able to assess how Mighty River Power’s going and also assess the opportunities of the next company that we’ll be putting up for public float.
           
CORIN           Minister— SOE Minister Tony Ryall, thank you very much for your time.
 
TONY             Thanks very much.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Last Night’s Debate, And The Collins Accusation

Debating is a peculiar discipline in that what you say is less important than how you’re saying it. Looking poised, being articulate and staying on topic generally wins the day – and on that score, Labour leader David Cunliffe won what turned out to be a bruising encounter with Prime Minister John Key last night on TVNZ.

Cunliffe marshalled his points better, kept Key off balance and – more often than not – was in control of the general tenor of the contest. Labour supporters would have been heartened, and given some belated reassurance that maybe the change of leadership last year had been the right decision. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Gordon Campbell: On Winston Peters' Latest Bout Of Immigrant Bashing

It is only one poll, but rather than cannibalising each other's vote, Colin Craig and Winston Peters do seem to be managing to find the room to co-exist... Few are questioning how Peters got to this happy place, and what it says about the mood of the electorate. More>>

ALSO:

More Immigration News: First People Trafficking Charges

The first people trafficking charges in New Zealand have been brought by Immigration New Zealand (INZ)... The defendants have been charged under the Crimes Act 1961 for arranging by deception the entry of 18 Indian nationals into New Zealand. More>>

Collins 'Misinterprets Media Reports': "Too Compromised To Remain Justice Minister"

Bizarre claims by Judith Collins this morning that she had been cleared of inappropriate behaviour by the Privacy Commissioner demonstrates she is too compromised to remain Justice Minister, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour On Climate Change: Focus On The Now For The Future

A Labour Government will put in place a comprehensive climate change strategy focusing on both mitigation and adaptation, establish an independent Climate Commission and implement carbon budgeting, says Labour Climate Change spokesperson Moana Mackey. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Housing Assistance Plan

So, as many as 90,000 people could derive some benefit from National’s housing assistance plans for low and middle-income earners... Yet in reality, the benefits seem likely to be insignificant, and they will be skewed towards those at the top end of the income group that’s supposedly the target. More>>

ALSO:

Election Data Consortium: National’s Worst Case Scenario At Stage One?

A month out from the general election and ipredict traders are still forecasting National’s vote to slip below current polling levels and there is potential for it to fall further. More>>

ALSO:

From The Scoop Video Archive: PM Says SIS "Told Me" About OIA Release

In a press conference immediately following an controversial OIA release of notes on an SIS briefing to then Labour leader Phil Goff, Key said "at that point [Tucker] told me he'd release it ...". Since the release of Nicky Hager's 'Dirty Politics' Key has denied being personally informed and said references by officials to 'the PM' being told briefed referred to his office. He now says the same about his own statement. More>>

ALSO:

  • Scoop Video in the news - New questions over Key claims | NZ Herald News - Stuff.co.nz
  • Earlier - Felix Marwick: Laying out facts over SIS documents - Newstalk ZB
  • Labour - Director’s letter contradicts Key’s claims
  • ACT - The Letter - 26 days to go
  • TV3 Video - Housing issue nudges Dirty Politics aside - David Cunliffe: Key's SIS explanation 'defies belief' - SIS leak came from Key's Office - Goff - Key 'categorically denies' Slater OIA discussion - Video: Key faces more Dirty Politics questions

  • TVNZ - Winston Peters: ‘Dirty Politics' is a new low
  • The Nation - Debate Between Grant Robertson And Russel Norman
  • NZ First - “The Words Mean What I Say They Mean”
  • Get More From Scoop

     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Politics
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news