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

Museum of Waitangi set to become a national and visitor Icon

5 Feb 2016 News
05 February 2016 Museum of Waitangi set to become a national and visitor Icon The new Museum of Waitangi, opened today by the... more

ETS Review modelling documents released

5 Feb 2016 Environment
5 February 2016 ETS Review modelling documents released Three technical documents are being released to help New Zealanders engage... more

Business

NZ wool prices slip on higher kiwi, reduced China demand

5 Feb 2016 Business News By Tina Morrison
Article - BusinessDesk   NZ wool prices slip on higher kiwi dollar, reduced demand from China By Tina Morrison Feb. 5 ... more

NZ directors more aware of risk, focus on cyber security

5 Feb 2016 Business News By Sophie Boot
Article - BusinessDesk   NZ directors more aware of risk, focus on cyber security   Feb. 5 (BusinessDesk) - Directors of... more

Living

Does what it means to be a Kiwi depend on where you live?

5 Feb 2016 Lifestyle
  4 February 2016What it is to be a Kiwi may depend of where you live – Auckland or elsewhere in New Zealand – with... more

2015: The Year of the Blockbuster

21 Jan 2016 Entertainment
Motion Pictures Distributors' Association   January 21, 2016 2015: The Year of the Blockbuster For the second year in a row the ... more

Property

Auckland house sales volumes jump to 8-year high in January

4 Feb 2016 Property By Tina Morrison
  Auckland's house sales volumes jump to 8-year high in January, Barfoot says Feb. 4 (BusinessDesk) - Auckland residential... more

Auckland house prices little changed in December

6 Jan 2016 Property By Sophie Boot
Article - BusinessDesk   Auckland house prices little changed in December as sales volumes, listings drop Jan. 6 (BusinessDesk)... more

Migration

More than 27,000 new Kiwis in 2015

5 Feb 2016 Migration
  This Waitangi Day, New Zealand will roll out the welcome mat to 24 new citizens at Government House, and acknowledge over... more

NZ net migrants reach all-time high 63,700 in boom November

21 Dec 2015 Migration
Article - Businesswire   NZ net migrants reach all-time high 63,700 in boom November year for travel By Jonathan Underhill Dec. ... more

Travel

More than 100,000 SmartGate users in one week

22 Jan 2016 Travel & Tourism
New Zealand Government Hon Nicky WagnerMinister of Customs 22 January 2016 More than 100,000 SmartGate users in one week Customs ... more

Wellington ratepayers to pay $8mln for Canberra flights

21 Jan 2016 Travel & Tourism By Pattrick Smellie
Wellington ratepayers to pay $8mln over 10 years for Canberra flights Jan. 21 (BusinessDesk) - Wellington City Council is... more

Sport

Global Racing Teams Attracted to Godzone’s Fifth Chapter

5 Feb 2016 Multisport
70 teams from 11 nations will come together in Kaiteriteri, Tasman this April for the fifth chapter of New Zealand’s premier ... more

Rob Nicol joins Mondiale Aces squad

22 Jan 2016 Cricket
Auckland Cricket Friday, 22 January 2016 Rob Nicol joins Mondiale Aces squad for Ford Trophy Qualifying Final The Mondiale Auckland... more

Columns

Gordon Campbell on Paula Bennett’s fantasy politics and Iran's election

22 Jan 2016 Opinion By Gordon Campbell
We seem to be living in an era of virtual government, where governments promote only an illusion of policy kapow! rather than the... more

Gordon Campbell on the Dotcom extradition decision

24 Dec 2015 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the Dotcom extradition decision Inevitably – and with justification –... more

Kiwi Success

Appointment of GCSB Acting Director

5 Feb 2016 Appointments
New Zealand Government Hon Christopher Finlayson5 February 2016 GCSB Chief Legal Advisor Lisa Fong will become the Acting Director... more

Heading to Europe And the Olympics of Architecture

22 Jan 2016 Flying Kiwi*
Warren and Mahoney Heading to Europe And the Olympics of Architecture Architectural graduate Antonia Lapwood has been awarded the... more

Recruitment

Addressing skills shortages in dairy farming

11 Dec 2015 Recruitment
    11 December 2015 Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce and Minister for Social... more

Alignment of NZ and Australian qualifications frameworks

4 Dec 2015 Recruitment
New Zealand Government Hon Steven Joyce Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment 4 December 2015 Tertiary Education,... more