Iwi to get formal consultation on partial SOE sales in Feb

Article – BusinessDesk

Jan. 27 (BusinessDesk) – The New Zealand government will take part in a series of hui to consult with Maori on legislative changes it considers necessary in order to float the minority shareholdings of four State Owned Enterprises.

Iwi to get formal consultation over partial SOE sales next month

By Hannah Lynch

Jan. 27 (BusinessDesk) – The New Zealand government will take part in a series of hui to consult with Maori on legislative changes it considers necessary in order to float the minority shareholdings of four State Owned Enterprises.

Larger iwi have been targeted as potential investors in the government’s plan to sell down its holdings in some of its energy companies, and in Cabinet papers prepared last year, the Treasury said Maori have the “potential to play a significant role in the achievement of widespread and substantial New Zealand ownership as enduring strategic investors.”

The SOEs include Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power and Solid Energy, under new legislation the Government will retain at least 51 percent ownership, with individual shareholdings limited to 10 percent. The government is also seeking written submissions on its proposals.

“We promised to talk with iwi when we originally announced plans to partially sell the four energy companies and Air New Zealand last year,” Finance Minister Bill English said in a statement. “We want to understand Maori views before we take final decisions.”

English and State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall will lead the process, starting in February. It will be facilitated by former public servant, Wira Gardiner.

English said, the five partial share floats will free up billions of dollars for investment in schools, hospitals and public infrastructure and help ensure New Zealand avoids the kind of debt crisis faced by Europe.

“The Government has promised all New Zealand investors they will be at the front of the queue for the shares,” he said.

Mighty River Power will be first off the block, with a sale flagged for the third quarter this year.

(BusinessDesk)

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