Govt tables privatisation bill; mulls Air NZ options   5 Mar 2012

Draft legislation to allow the partial privatisation of four state-owned energy companies has been tabled today, with its First Reading in Parliament due on Thursday.

As expected, the Bill will transfer existing clauses in the State-Owned Enterprises Act relating to Crown obligations to Maori under the Treaty of Waitangi and to “memorialised” land for settlement of Treaty claims.

However, the companies will no longer be subject to corporate responsibility obligations or to the Official Information Act. Only ministerial decisions relating to the government’s investment in the four companies will be subject to requests for public disclosure, whereas the businesses’ commercial decisions will be shielded from the OIA.

It will also include clauses requiring that the government remain the majority shareholder of the companies, defined as a 51 percent or greater shareholder, and that no other shareholder be allowed to own more than a 10 percent stake in the companies.

SOE Minister Tony Ryall confirmed the first SOE up for partial privatisation will be MightyRiverPower, owner of the Mercury retail electricity brand, “around the third quarter” of this year.

The other energy companies slated for partial sale are electricity generator-retailers Meridian Energy and Genesis Energy, and coal company Solid Energy. Further shares in Air New Zealand, which is already partially privatised, are also to be offered but it is not dealt with under the new legislation.

The government was taking separate legal advice on a further selldown of Air NZ shares, with some 27 percent of the NZX-listed company in public hands “because of the greater complexity around Air NZ’s existing shareholding," Ryall said.

The inclusion of the contentious Section 9 of the SOE Act in the new bill follows consultation with Maori interests following an outcry at suggestions that reference to the Crown’s Treaty obligations be left out of the bill for fear it would deter private investors.

Instead, the bill will include the clause, while making explicit that it applies only to those shares owned by the government.

Also to be replicated will be Section 27A-D to protect Maori interests in memorialised land owned by the partially privatised companies.

SOE Act requirements relating to social and environmental responsibilities will not carry over into the new bill.

“Like most large commercial entities, the mixed ownership companies will continue to build stakeholder trust and public support for their activities in a number of ways, including through their corporate social responsibility polices,” Ryall said.

Continuous disclosure requirements that come with stock exchange listing would require commercial transparency from the partially privatised companies.

“The rationale for selling minority stakes in the SOEs was that New Zealand “must not get into the kind of debt trap the UK and Europe are in," Ryall said.

"The $5 billion to $7 billion we expect to free up by these partial share floats will go into the Future Investment Fund to build priority assets like schools, hospitals and infrastructure.”

The assets for sale comprised less than 3 per cent of the government's total assets.

(BusinessDesk)

Add a comment

Bookmark and Share

News

UK New Zealander Stella Duffy awarded an OBE for services to the Arts

14 Jun 2016 Arts
Celebrated writer, theatremaker and Fun Palaces Co-Director Stella Duffy will receive... more

NZ gears up for the global space economy

14 Jun 2016 News
New Zealand Government Hon Steven JoyceMinister for Economic Development 14 June 2016 NZ gears up for the global space economy The... more

Business

NZ dollar drops vs. Australian dollar

7 Jun 2016 Business News By Johnathan Underhill
Article - BusinessDesk NZ dollar drops vs. Australian dollar on lack of RBA rate cut By Jonathan Underhill June 7 (BusinessDesk) -... more

NZ wholesale trades shrinks for second quarter

7 Jun 2016 Business News By Paul McBeth
Article - BusinessDesk Tuesday 07 June 2016 11:15 AM NZ wholesale trades shrinks for second quarter as agri sector weighs on basic... more

Living

REVIEW: Modern Maori Quartet steals the hearts of Londoners

8 Jun 2016 Entertainment By Charlotte Everett
The Modern Maori Quartet won over the hearts of homesick Kiwis and new friends with their debut London show on June 3rd. Fresh from... more

NZ-themed Salisbury Festival now open

29 May 2016 Arts
The Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival, recently awarded silver for Best Tourism Event in South West Tourism Awards, is now... more

Property

Record annual profit for Kiwi Property

16 May 2016 Property
By Jonathan Underhill May 16 (BusinessDesk) - Kiwi Property Group, the country's biggest listed property investor by market value,... more

Record annual profit for Kiwi Property

16 May 2016 Property
Portfolio gain, rental income growth delivers record annual profit for Kiwi Property By Jonathan Underhill May 16 (BusinessDesk) -... more

Migration

Kiwis could be affected by tighter UK rules

30 Mar 2016 Migration By Audrey Young
British High Commissioner Jonathan Sinclair is defending changes to skilled migrant rules for Britain but suggests they won't affect... more

Immigrants' attitudes to corruption worries SFO

17 Feb 2016 Migration By Sophie Boot
Feb. 17 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's record inbound migration has undermined the country's squeaky-clean reputation because of an... more

Travel

More funding for the New Zealand Cycle Trail

3 Jun 2016 Travel & Tourism
New Zealand Government   Rt Hon John Key Prime MinisterMinister of Tourism 3 June 2016 More funding for the New Zealand... more

Jucy plans to expand pod-style hotel chain to Australia

16 May 2016 NZ Tourism
Article - BusinessDesk Monday 16 May 2016 12:20 PM Jucy plans to expand pod-style hotel chain to Australia in 2017 By Fiona... more

Sport

Richie McCaw: 148

22 Jun 2016 Sport
Upstart Press   Richie McCaw: 148 148 tests 131 wins 110 times captain of the All Blacks 2 Rugby World Cup triumphs 12... more

Depleted Pulse bolster stocks for challenging road trip

23 Jun 2016 Netball
Netball Central June 23, 2016Depleted Pulse bolster stocks for challenging road trip Not for the first time this season, Central... more

Columns

Gordon Campbell on our refugee response, and a TPP rewrite

14 Jun 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on our paltry refugee response and a brazen US rewrite of the TPP First published at... more

Gordon Campbell on Muhammad Ali

7 Jun 2016 Opinion By Gordon Campbell
As with Bob Dylan, Muhammad Ali changed the times in which he lived so thoroughly that anyone coming along afterwards will probably... more

Kiwi Success

New Ambassador to Belgium named

23 Jun 2016 Appointments
New Zealand Government Hon Murray McCully Minister of Foreign Affairs   23 June 2016 Media Statement New Ambassador to Belgium... more

New appointments to Vulnerable Children’s Board

12 May 2016 Appointments
New Zealand Government Hon Anne Tolley Minister for Social Development 12 May 2016 New appointments to Vulnerable Children’s... more

Recruitment

Zero-hour contracts gone, PPL extended

10 Mar 2016 Recruitment
New Zealand Government Hon Michael Woodhouse Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety 10 March 2016 Zero-hour contracts gone, PPL... more

Scheme helping to staff hard to fill positions

28 Feb 2016 Recruitment
New Zealand Government Scheme helping to staff hard to fill positions Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says an incentive scheme... more

s