Government Delays Asset Sale Plan

September 4, 2012 New Zealand Finance

Asset sale protestThe government’s contentious plan to begin the partial privatization of some state owned enterprises has been officially delayed, after concerns were raised by the Waitangi Tribunal.

On September 3rd the Prime Minister of New Zealand announced that the government will delay its proposed sale of state-owned enterprises (SOE) and will not publically offer shares in Mighty River Power until at least the second quarter of 2013.

The Prime Minister explained that the delay will allow the government more time to consult with iwi on the impact that the partial privatization of state owned assets will have on New Zealand’s Maori.

The delay primarily revolves around a “share plus” proposal put forward by the Waitangi Tribunal, under which Maori groups may be granted extra shares or concession when participating in the sales of SOEs.

According to John Key, the government has already investigated the feasibility of the share plus scheme, and was advised to reject the idea.

The Prime Minister said that the government was not obliged to delay the asset sale “…but because they [the Waitangi Tribunal] have raised it, because it’s a new point, realistically the most prudent and conservative thing we can do is consult with that very narrow group so that’s what we’ll be doing.”

Photo by Simon Oosterman