A visit by Mighty River Power CEO Doug Heffernan to talk to Australian hedge fund managers undermines John Key's promise that New Zealanders would be at the front of the queue for shares in our publicly-owned assets, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.
Mr Heffernan and Mighty River Power CFO, William Meek, met with Australian hedge fund managers in Sydney and Melbourne last week, according to media reports. In his statement to Parliament today, the Prime Minister said that 'New Zealanders will be at the front of the queue for shares'.
"Kiwis have always known that asset sales are a con and that the a large number of shares would end up in overseas ownership. This is further evidence that National's talk of 'mum and dad' investors is just empty spin," said Dr Norman.
"Clearly, the Government intends that large parcels of shares will be bought by offshore institutions, if the sale of Mighty River Power goes ahead. The company's senior managers are already trying to entice Australian hedge funds to buy up shares.
"Mighty River Power is a proudly New Zealand-owned company, and so it should remain. Its purpose is to provide sustainable electricity to New Zealand families at a fair price and produce a return to the Government, not to make profits for overseas investors.
"Kiwis know that asset sales mean loss of control and loss of economic sovereignty. That's why 360,000 of us have already signed the petition calling for a referendum on asset sales.
"The Government should stop trying to hock off our assets to overseas companies, listen to New Zealanders, and keep our assets," said Dr Norman.