Meridian privatisation lines pockets of investors

The partial privatisation of Meridian Energy has led to higher power prices and sent $625 million worth of bloated profits into the pockets of investors, the Green Party said today.

Meridian announced today that revenue had risen 22 percent to $1.3 billion, and that it would pay out an additional special dividend of $625 million over five years.

“Meridian was the largest of the power companies that National partially privatised and the Green Party always said that those strategic assets should have stayed in state ownership. Serious questions need to be asked about whether the Government, acting on behalf of taxpayers, got value for money by selling off Meridian shares or if this is another example of the Government’s sloppy economic management, Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said.

“This special dividend follows decisions by Meridian to raise power prices for customers and lower the amount it pays its customers who choose to generate their own solar power and sell it back to the national grid.

“New Zealanders know that power prices continue to go up, and this should be a real shock that the reason they’re going up is so that Meridian can pay a special dividend to its shareholders.”

The Green Party led the campaign against the sale of state assets in 2013, and in 2014 it promoted a plan that would save the average household $300 annually on its power bill.