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

PM to resign: 'It feels like the right time to go'

5 Dec 2016 Politics By Benedict Collins
 8:47 pm 5... more

NZ Music Icon Ray Columbus Passes Away

3 Dec 2016 Arts
60s New Zealand music Icon Ray Columbus has passed away peacefully at his home north of Auckland today after a four year battle with... more

Business

Key crowns APEC summit with China free-trade upgrade

21 Nov 2016 Business News By Pattrick Smellie
Article - BusinessDesk Monday 21 November 2016 08:50 AM Key crowns APEC summit with China free-trade upgrade By Pattrick Smellie in ... more

Ports of Auckland does deal with KiwiRail

18 Nov 2016 Business News
Article - BusinessDesk Ports of Auckland does deal with KiwiRail as Centreport slapped with exclusion zone By Jonathan Underhill Nov.... more

Living

3rd Position, Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series

21 Nov 2016 Lifestyle
Emirates Team New Zealand EMIRATES TEAM NEW ZEALAND CLOSES IN 3rd POSITION THE LOUIS VUITTON AMERICA’S CUP WORLD SERIES more

Arts Foundation Award recipients for 2016

14 Nov 2016 Lifestyle
The Arts Foundation Next generation of internationally acclaimed talent among the Arts Foundation Award recipients for 2016Under ... more

Property

NZ house prices gain 11% in October

14 Nov 2016 Property
Article - BusinessDesk Monday 14 November 2016 10:28 AM NZ house prices gain 11% in October, driven by sales of higher value homes By... more

RBNZ sees pressures building in Auckland construction sector

11 Nov 2016 Property By Paul McBeth
Article - BusinessDesk Thursday 10 November 2016 04:04 PM RBNZ sees pressures building in Auckland construction sector By Paul ... more

Migration

Changes to Financial Markets Conduct Act impact UK pension transfers

1 Nov 2016 Migration
New Zealand Government Hon Paul GoldsmithMinister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs 1 November 2016 Changes to Financial Markets... more

NZ migration, tourism hits new highs in September

21 Oct 2016 Migration By Sophie Boot
Article - BusinessDesk Friday 21 October 2016 11:23 AM NZ migration, tourism hits new highs in September, driven by record... more

Travel

Air NZ teams up Ronan Keating, Julian Dennison for Christmas song

2 Dec 2016 Travel & Tourism
Air New Zealand has paired up with singer Ronan Keating and rising Kiwi actor Julian Dennison to rejig a Christmas classic. 'Summer... more

China tourism growth set to accelerate

31 Oct 2016 NZ Tourism By Tina Morrison
Article - BusinessDesk Monday 31 October 2016 11:05 AM China tourism growth set to accelerate with increased flights Oct. 31... more

Sport

Southern Hemisphere vs. Northern rugby

3 Dec 2016 Rugby

more

New Zealand Black Ferns Sevens claim top prize in Dubai

3 Dec 2016 Rugby
New Zealand's women claim top prize in DubaiAustralia and New Zealand played out yet another thrilling final in Dubai as the Black... more

Columns

Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade

11 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade First published on Werewolf more

Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome

10 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome more

Kiwi Success

Acting District Court Judge appointed

11 Nov 2016 Appointments
New Zealand Government Hon Christopher FinlaysonAttorney-General 11 November 2016 Acting District Court Judge appointed Wellington... more

Abby Foote appointed to TVNZ Board

1 Nov 2016 Appointments
New Zealand Government Hon Amy Adams Minister of Broadcasting 1 November 2016 Abby Foote appointed to TVNZ Board Broadcasting... more

Recruitment

Fisher Funds hunts for new head to replace founder

2 Nov 2016 Recruitment
Article - BusinessDesk Tuesday 01 November 2016 04:42 PM Fisher Funds hunts for new head to replace founder Carmel Fisher By Paul ... more

AWF Madison buys Absolute IT for $15.3mn

19 Oct 2016 Recruitment By Sophie Boot
Article - BusinessDesk Wednesday 19 October 2016 09:09 AM AWF Madison buys Absolute IT for $15.3mn, expanding further into white... more

s