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'Mum and Dad' shares could sell in Australia

Thursday 12 Jul 2012 10:07 p.m.

By Jenny Suo

The Government is not ruling out listing Mighty River Power shares on both sides of the Tasman.

The partial sale of the state owned energy company is just months away, but today the Prime Minister said he is still deciding whether shares will be available in Australia.

“That decision hasn’t been made, there are eight of the ten major companies are listed in the Australian exchange,” says John Key.

The Government will sell 49 percent of the company to the public.

But Green party co-leader Russel Norman says listing shares in Australia goes against the Government’s claim it wants to maximise New Zealand investment

“By listing these companies, it means that it fundamentally undermines the NZX and means a lot of investors from Australia will simply buy shares over there and they'll have nothing to do with the New Zealand stock exchange,” he says.

And an expert says investment from Australia could drive up share prices for Kiwis.

“There’s a fine balance there – obviously the Government wants to get a good price on its shares, but it also wants to encourage NZ investors. I would have thought that for this particular IPO that the emphasis should be on encouraging New Zealanders to invest,” says investment commentator Brian Gaynor.

Hey says a decision as big as this should have been made much sooner.

“The Government doesn’t seem to have planned it carefully enough, he should be saying either it is, or isn’t rather than being very vague and saying we haven’t ruled that out, all those details should have been worked out by now.”

Mr Norman agrees the asset sale hasn’t been well organised.

“This privatisation that this Government’s running is a pigs breakfast, they don’t know what they're doing most of the time, they seem to be making it up as they go,” he says.

But with the Mighty River float expected in the next few months - a decision will need to made soon.

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