Solid Energy chairman quits over asset sales
Sat, 23 Jun 2012 10:34a.m.
John Palmer is quitting as chairman of state-owned Solid Energy because at the age of 65 he is unwilling to stay on and see it through to partial privatisation.
Mr Palmer, who is also chairman of Air New Zealand, took up a strong public position in calling for the partial privatisation of state-owned companies and he welcomed the government's plan to sell down stakes in electricity companies and Solid Energy.
State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall announced Mr Palmer's departure from Solid Energy on Friday.
"While it is disappointing to lose such a senior director, I wish to recognise Mr Palmer's commitment to the company since his appointment in 2006, and the developments the company has made under his leadership," Mr Ryall said.
Mr Palmer said Solid Energy was not likely to be partially privatised until late next year or early 2014 and the company needed a chairman to commit all the way through, The Press reported.
"Just the pressures on my time and the determination to lower my own workload means that despite the passion I have for the company I am just not willing to commit at my age for another three to four years."
Parliamentary debate on asset sales may almost be over, but politicians are far from letting the matter rest.
A debate on TV3's The Nation programme this morning - featuring Labour, the Greens, and New Zealand First - roundly criticised the move to reduce the government's stake in four state energy companies.
Labour's State Owned Enterprises spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove says the government's actions will leave "no cookies in the jar".
“Their only economic plan, which won’t solve unemployment, won’t create economic growth, won’t increase exports, is to flog off assets,” he said.
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24/06/2012 4:40:12 a.m.
Solid Energy seems to be headed the same way as the South Island mine, having gas scares. The workers are calling for Australian standard in the industry. Think I would to as ours seem rather lax and neglected.
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