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Kiwis could leave and still get share bonus

Wednesday 25 Jul 2012 5:35 a.m.

NZ First MP Andrew Williams

NZ First MP Andrew Williams

The prospect of thousands of Kiwis buying shares in state-owned energy companies, qualifying for a bonus and then fleeing to Australia is being raised by NZ First.

The Government has announced a loyalty share bonus scheme for New Zealanders who buy shares in Mighty River Power when it is partially privatised.

They will get the bonus if they hang on to their shares for about three years - an incentive designed to keep the company in New Zealand hands.

But NZ First MP Andrew Williams says there's nothing to stop them crossing the Tasman and still collecting the bonus.

He questioned Finance Minister Bill English about that in Parliament on Tuesday, asking whether they would still qualify for the bonus shares if they quit the country.

"Of course they will," Mr English said.

Mr Williams says that's bizarre.

"National sees nothing wrong with selling off assets currently owned by all New Zealanders to people who then flee in their thousands to Australia for a brighter future," he said.

Parliament had earlier been told by Labour's David Parker that 158,167 people had left for Australia since November 2008 - of those, 53,763 left last year.


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