The National Government's flagship partial asset sales policy
will end in the next month or so with the sale of Genesis
Energy, given there is little left worth selling, Prime
Minister John Key said yesterday.
Key confirmed the Genesis sale would happen in the next month
or so, in line with previous indications, which allows the
final stage of the unpopular programme to be completed well
before this year's election.
"Just as we did before the last election we're making our
position on share sales clear to New Zealanders before we go
to the polls later this year," he said.
"We've achieved what we wanted with the share offers in
energy companies and Air NZ. We're now returning to a
business-as-usual approach when it comes to [state-owned
Key underlined that the Genesis float would be the last asset
sale under his Government either before or after the
"The truth is there aren't a lot of other assets that would
fit in the category where they would be either appealing to
take to the market or of a size that would warrant a further
programme, or they sit in the category that they are very
large like Transpower but are monopoly assets so aren't
Key countered criticism from the Greens and others that the
Government was ignoring Treasury advice that an oversupply of
energy company shares on the market meant it would not get
the best price for Genesis if it was sold too quickly.
"I don't think the price we could achieve for Genesis will
change dramatically whether we take it to the market in the
next month or so or take it to market in 14 months."
Prime Minister John Key's status report on asset sales
# Genesis: Sale will go ahead "in the next month or so" with
Finance Minister Bill English to give further details
Maybe, but not now:
# Solid Energy: Keeping the company afloat would be "very
challenging ... but we'll do our best. It can survive but its
asset value is very low and it's probably gone from being
worth, arguably $2 billion or $3 billion to between nothing
and $300 million maybe."
Not for sale:
# NZ Post/KiwiBank: "Frankly it would be a very difficult
business to sell with the exception of KiwiBank which isn't
actually producing any cash."
# TVNZ: "Would be possible but it is in a highly competitive
market, and it would probably be difficult to get that away."
# Transpower: "It's a monopoly and I don't think it makes
much sense to sell shares in it."
# The rest: "Largely kind of rats and mice. We could sell
them in totality like a Kordia but that would be a very
different deal to the mixed ownership and frankly wouldn't be
worth the political argument."