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PARLIAMENTARY REPORT


needlessly. And with their own logic they have not been able to sell that one to the public; 80 per cent of New Zealanders say: “We do not want our assets sold.”


NEW ZEALAND


seen in 100 years”. Mr Joyce said the partial asset sale programme would “raise between $5 billion and $7 billion to invest in high- priority infrastructure that will help grow our economy, important social infrastructure like schools and hospitals”. The Bill was split into two Bills,


Hon. Tony Ryall, MP On 29 May the amendment


expressing no confidence in the government was lost by 57 votes to 63.


Part-privatization of energy assets The purpose of the Mixed Ownership Model Bill was to enable the sale of up to 49 per


Hon. Winston Peters, MP Hon. Steven Joyce, MP


cent of the interests in four energy companies that are presently fully owned by the State. Moving the second reading of the Bill on 14 June, Hon. Steven Joyce, MP, (Minister for Economic Development) described the policy underpinning the legislation as “part of a wider economic programme to reduce debt, increase savings, and get our country through one of the worst economic crises the world has


shareholding, with a 10 per cent cap on any other shareholder.” He said the government expected that “85 per cent to 90 per cent of these companies at float will be owned by New Zealanders.” Mr Ryall responded to Opposition concerns about higher electricity prices, saying “what really matters is the level of competition, not the ownership.” He stated: “In 14 of the 21


power regions, the private companies are the cheapest.” However, Dr Norman argued:


“There is actually very limited competition in the sector, so it is very easy for these companies to extract super-profits out of the electricity market. So the naive belief that we hear from the government that somehow perfect competition will lead


220 | The Parliamentarian | 2012: Issue Three


the State-Owned Enterprises Amendment Bill and the Public Finance (Mixed Ownership Model) Amendment Bill. Hon. Tony Ryall, MP, (Minister for State Owned Enterprises) moved their third readings on 26 June, and promised: “this government will maintain majority New Zealand control of these companies through its legislated 51 per cent


to lower prices is simply not true, and the evidence is to the contrary.” Long-serving Member Hon.


Winston Peters, MP (Leader, New Zealand First) said: “The worst part is that we have been here before … Look at Telecom. It was sold for $4.25 billion in 1990, and delivered dividends to its foreign owners and its new owners of $15 billion. Nearly $9 billion of that went overseas.” Mr Cosgrove warned: “Once


these assets are gone, they are gone. National Members try to bluff people by saying that they are going to buy other assets. They are going to buy schools and the odd bridge. Here is the problem with that, of course: you sell a revenue-generating asset, you buy a non - revenue- generating asset, and at some point the money runs out. “What the government fails


to tell New Zealanders is that, yes, you save $266 million in debt-servicing costs but you give up $360 million per annum in dividends. That is a loss to the New Zealand taxpayer of 100 million bucks.”


here, and New Zealanders understand this”. Ms Moana Mackey (Labour) commented that government Members “like to say that this is a great opportunity for mum and


Ms Moana Mackey, MP


dad investors. Well, mum and dad investors already own these companies. Most mums and dads I know are more concerned about how they are going to pay the power bill than trying to buy the power company. That is how out of touch the [National government] is”. Te Ururoa Flavell (Maori


Party) said: “Let me make it clear that we strongly oppose the removal of the four state-owned enterprises from the State- Owned Enterprises Act, and the proposal to sell 49 percent of these important Crown assets, until historical Treaty settlements are concluded with all claimants who wish to include these assets in the redress package.” The Bills passed by 61 votes


to 60. Mr David Bennett, MP But according to Mr David


Bennett, MP, (National) “the public out there need to understand that there has been a distinction between capital and income dividends, and that you have seen the Opposition using a higher figure to inflate its argument. “The returns will still be taxable


Te Ururoa Flavell, MP


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