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

Christchurch continuing to bounce back

23 Sep 2016 Canterbury Earthquake
New Zealand Government Hon Gerry BrownleeMinister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration   23 September... more

Local Government reforms extension

23 Sep 2016 News
New Zealand Government Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-IigaMinister of Local Government 23 September 2016 The Minister of Local Government ... more

Business

RBNZ pushes for new quarterly disclosure regime

23 Sep 2016 Business News
Article - BusinessDesk Friday 23 September 2016 12:47 PM RBNZ pushes for new quarterly disclosure regime By Paul McBeth Sept. 23 ... more

McClay says prospects for Indonesia trade good

23 Sep 2016 Business News
New Zealand Government Hon Todd McClayMinister of Trade 22 September 2016 Minister of Trade Todd McClay says he is encouraged by... more

Living

Young New Zealanders Making Films For Good

18 Jul 2016 Lifestyle
The Outlook for Someday Young New Zealanders Making Films For Good What does sustainability mean to you? Since 2007 The Outlook for... more

Review: NZ's Pitch Black - live in London

8 Jul 2016 Entertainment By Charlotte Everett
20 years after their debut at The Gathering, Pitch Black have satiated a packed venue of fans at London’s Oslo, in... more

Property

Auckland house prices are stabilising Barfoot says

3 Aug 2016 Property By Sophie Boot
Wednesday 03 August 2016 10:30 AM Auckland house prices are stabilising, may have plateaued, Barfoot says Aug. 3 (BusinessDesk) -... more

NZ home values rise at fastest quarterly pace in 12 years

2 Aug 2016 Property By Tina Morrison
Article - BusinessDesk NZ home values rise at fastest quarterly pace in 12 years By Tina Morrison Aug. 2 (BusinessDesk) - New... 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

Newer, faster and simpler eGates for Wellington

25 Aug 2016 Travel & Tourism
New Zealand Government   Hon Wagner using the new eGates at Wellington Airport.... more

NZ guest nights jump to a record in June amid tourism boom

10 Aug 2016 Travel & Tourism By Tina Morrison
Article - BusinessDesk Wednesday 10 August 2016 12:19 PM Aug. 10 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand accommodation providers had their... more

Sport

Stars to hit the court for FAST5 Ferns

23 Sep 2016 Netball
Netball NZ Stars to hit the court for FAST5 Ferns Friday 23 September, 2016The FAST5 Ferns will be eyeing off a fourth straight title... more

Columns

Gordon Campbell on the end game in Spain

25 Aug 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the end game in Spain First published on Werewolf more

Gordon Campbell on the Impotence of the Reserve Bank

11 Aug 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the Impotence of the Reserve Bank First published on Werewolf more

Kiwi Success

New appointment to FSANZ Board

29 Aug 2016 Appointments
New Zealand Government Hon Jo Goodhew Minister for Food Safety   29 August 2016 Jane Lancaster has been appointed to the Food ... more

Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO

12 Aug 2016 Appointments
New Zealand Government Hon Hekia ParataMinister of Education 12 August 2016 Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for... more

Recruitment

Jobs growth continues to be strong

3 Aug 2016 Recruitment
New Zealand Government Hon Steven Joyce Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment 3 August 2016 Jobs growth continues... more

NZ private sector wage inflation misses expectations in June

3 Aug 2016 State of the Market Report By Paul McBeth
Wednesday 03 August 2016 11:57 AM NZ private sector wage inflation misses expectations in June quarter Aug. 3 (BusinessDesk) - New... more

s