Winston Peters: Our asset sales buyback promise

29/11/2013

By Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First

Recently, an orange envelope should have turned up in your mailbox. It contains the papers for you to vote in the citizens-initiated referendum on asset sales. The question seeking your answer is:

Do you support the Government selling up to 49% of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand?

Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders signed the petition to force this referendum. It’s important that you have your say – a clear message needs to be sent to the Government telling them that it is undemocratic for them to sell state assets. That is, that they have no political mandate to be doing it. This is even more important with Genesis, the next asset up for sale.

The Genesis sale is proposed despite two previous power provider sell offs, Meridian and Mighty River Power, not bringing in anywhere near the income that the Government was hoping for. In fact, the Government descended to providing monetary incentives on the Meridian sale to induce buyers to purchase the shares because they weren’t attractive enough on their own!

These assets, built up by generations of Kiwi taxpayers, are not for the Government to sell. They should be owned by ALL New Zealanders, not just the select few that can afford to buy shares. And remember the boast was that the shares were to go to ‘Mum and Dad’ investors and yet the low numbers buying the shares make a mockery of this claim.

Many in politics have a short term memory, for during the 1980s and 90s they sold assets such as Telecom, Bank of New Zealand, New Zealand Rail, State Insurance and Government Print. None of these assets were sold at their true commercial value.

The National led coalition Government, propped up by its Klingons John Banks and Peter Dunne, have repeated their past mistakes of selling assets, but this time it has been our electricity generation system on the block. Many New Zealanders are worried that our power stations, hydro lakes, rivers and waterways will end up in foreign control.

New Zealand First is the only political party that has said since the beginning that if the Government did go ahead with this idiotic decision, then when we are in a position to influence the next Government, we would buy back the shares at a price no more than that initially paid for them.

source: data archive