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Kiwis lose $871 million from power company privatisations

New analysis of the financial statements of Genesis, Mighty River Power, and Meridian released by the Green Party today shows that National’s partial privatisation of power companies has cost New Zealand taxpayers $871 million, the Green Party said.

“The latest data shows that National’s sale of 49 percent of shares in the power companies was a massive transfer of wealth from the people of New Zealand to a few select investors, many who live overseas,” Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said.

“If the Crown still owned 100 percent of these companies, taxpayers could collectively have earned another $381 million this year alone and a whopping $775 million since the selloff.

“Add to that the $96 million of costs associated with the sale process, including bonus shares to sweeten the deal for private investors, and the New Zealand taxpayer is $871 million worse off because of National’s failed privatisation plan.

“Consumers are hurting because power prices are up 3.8 percent – meanwhile power companies are paying out massive salaries to their CEOs and directors.

“The CEOs of the three partially privatised power companies now all earn over a million dollars each, and Meridian’s CEO gets close to $2 million when extra perks are included.

“Rising salaries for power company CEOs are cold comfort for Kiwi households facing higher power bills,” said Mr Hughes.

Mighty River Power’s announcement today of a special shareholder dividend means it will pay out almost $300 million for the year, and caps off a string of recent profit announcements from the partially privatised power companies. Contact and Meridian are also paying special dividends, while Genesis’ profit doubled from the previous year.

The Green Party has released new analysis, undertaken by the Parliamentary Library, of the financial statements of the recently partially privatised power companies Genesis, Mighty River Power, and Meridian.