English tries to sweeten asset sales
Tue, 19 Jun 2012 6:11p.m.
By Political Editor Duncan Garner
Finance Minister Bill English has today talked up a loyalty scheme for Kiwis who buy shares in the energy companies soon to be partially sold.
It effectively means free extra shares for any Kiwi who buys.
It also means Mr English has joined John Key in supporting the sweetener, to entice Kiwis into a deal that the polls say most don't want.
Inside Parliament they scrapped over whether asset sales will push up power prices.
“Everybody knows that the price of electricity is going to go up,” says Labour Party leader David Shearer.
“It's just rubbish,” replies Mr English.
But next week the law allowing four energy companies and Air New Zealand to be sold will be passed by just one vote.
That vote is Peter Dunne's, and he won't budge.
3 News understands the first sale in a few months time will be Mighty River Power. The Government will offer $1000 minimum parcels.
It is formally investigating offering loyalty shares, or free shares, to Kiwis who hold them for a certain period.
It worked for the sale of Queensland Rail three years ago – one free share for every 15 held.
The Prime Minister likes the idea.
“It gives retails mum and dads another reason to buy those shares," says John Key.
Today the Finance Minister joined the chorus.
“It's certainly an option as we have said we want to achieve broad ownership," says Mr English. "The feedback we are getting is the public wants to be encouraged to buy the shares and hold them.”
But Labour says the free share offer just delays the inevitable.
“All a loyalty bonus does is put off the fateful day, maybe by 12 months, maybe by two years,” says Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove. “You get your free shares and you flog the lot off.”
Loyalty schemes can also be expensive.
The Greens say it could cost $400 million over the five sales.
“This is fiscally reckless policy,” says Russel Norman.
But perhaps the most reckless promise came from New Zealand First, with a $7 billion pledge.
“We will move to acquire these assets back,” says New Zealand First MP Andrew Williams.
Officials are now looking closely at loyalty schemes in Australia and the UK.
Mr Key and Mr English have now both talked up this sweetener to the sales, and it would now be surprising if they didn't offer such a scheme to Kiwis when more details are rolled out shortly.
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20/06/2012 7:51:10 p.m.
when Mr.Bradfort sold the electricity years ago the price wentup,he promised,the price would come down,he was national
20/06/2012 12:57:22 p.m.
No need to Bill, because us real people, who think things through, know selling these Assets is the 'correct' thing to do.
Another way to help balance NZ's deficit and avoid even more debt, would be to scrap the Dole. Giving people money for doing nothing, is crazy, and just wrong.
20/06/2012 10:54:25 a.m.
Daniel Allen wrote:
Every time I read an article on this I see the same comments about John Key and his 'rich mates' they are offering parcels for as low as $1000 I make jut over $20,000 a year and am still going to purchase shares despite paying back a student loan, my point is these shares aren't out of reach of the average New Zealander in fact it is a great opportunity for us, remember National were elected after campaigning on this.
20/06/2012 8:36:21 a.m.
The only New Zealanders who will benefit from the proposed aaset sale of Power Companies will be John Keys and his rich mates.
This is a complete rip-off of the tax payers of this country in the form of increased power prices.
The main reason these asset sales are necessary are to offset the $18 billion per annum deficit created during a recession by this governments Tax Cuts for the Rich.
Given that 80% of New Zealanders oppose these sales the only way to stop this rort and keep our power prices down is to nationalise our Power Companies,abolish the Tax Cuts for the Rich and get rid of any government that privatises our assets and public services to line the pockets of its members at our expense.
Time to end the rip-offs.
20/06/2012 6:51:25 a.m.
The neoliberal agenda of transferring the public wealth into the hands of the private few continues unabated.
This is not a *loyalty* scheme. This is a *disloyalty* scheme - making the country as a whole poorer by rewarding those parasites who choose to steal from their fellow citizens.
The already wealthy that benefited hugely from the unaffordable tax cuts that were gifted to the rich will use that windfall to fleece their fellow New Zealanders of our communally-owned income-generating strategic assets.
Then, those of us that object to this sale and refuse to steal from our fellow countrymen - and the many of us that can't afford to - will be forced to pay out extra, on top of inflated power prices, to reward those rapacious thieves that held on to their plundered shares in our stolen assets. And then, once rewarded, they will no doubt proceed to flog those shares off overseas anyway, for even greater profit. Despicable.
20/06/2012 4:07:55 a.m.
Wheres the jobs National promised? They spent a bit on a summit. Wheres the growing economy? Are we all to wait for the Christchurch rebuild? Is that going to arrive anytime soon? Guesstimates again were they as is everything this govt says. Somethings are just more important to our govt like selling off assets to rich mates as the average nzer couldnt afford shares. John Key you have lost touch with reality.
20/06/2012 12:25:10 a.m.
OMG??? is it just me, or is he starting to look like Key?
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