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Govt Share Offers Bill passes second reading

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Government's Bill enabling New Zealanders to own minority shares in four state owned energy companies has passed its second reading in Parliament.

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The Mixed Ownership Model Bill enables the Government to offer minority shareholdings in Genesis Power, Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, and Solid Energy, while retaining majority control of 51 per cent.

"This bill is about controlling our nation's debt," says State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall, ""No nation can afford to let debt get out of control. Huge debt is at the core of why the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Italy, and Greece are being forced to impose tough measures.

"The National led Government is committed to getting on top of debt, protecting and growing our economy and keeping it safe from the debt ridden troubles plaguing other countries.

"Over the next 3 to 5 years the $6 billion in proceeds from these Share Offers will pay for priority new public assets like modern schools and hospitals through a new Future Investments Fund - that is $6 billion we would otherwise have had to borrow from overseas lenders.

"We will also have strict ownership limits and these will be enshrined in legislation. There will be a 10 per cent share cap on all investors. No one investor will be able to own more than 10 per cent of the company.

"Most importantly we are committed to keeping strong Kiwi ownership in these companies. We will be putting New Zealanders first and we will be aiming the Share Offers at all New Zealanders - in fact we have a set a target of 85-90 per cent New Zealand ownership at the time of the offer.

"The first Share Offer - for a minority share in Mighty River Power - is expected around the third quarter of this year, markets permitting."

This bill is set down for committee stage next sitting day (Tuesday 19 June).

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