Last year, we learned that Treasury had warned the government not to go to fast with asset sales, as selling too many similar companies all at once would be too much for the stock market. So guess what National is planning to do?
The Government is eyeing up as many as three power company share floats this year to rake in billions of dollars in extra cash.
Finance Minister Bill English said today Mighty River Power had had plenty of time to ready itself for the first float and the sale could occur "within a matter of months" after Cabinet signed off the plan on Monday.
"Generally there's just a couple of opportunities in the year because of the rules around accounting numbers and having up to date information for the public so you can get generally one float in before May or June and another one later in the year, perhaps two, depending on market conditions. As soon as the process for Mighty River power is signed off well then move to the other SOE's [State-owned enterprises]."
This is simply madness. If the government proceeds with this plan, it means that they (and we) will get a lower price for those assets. But given that the buyers will be foreigners and cronies, National probably regards that as a feature rather than a bug. A bad deal for us is a good deal for their rich mates, and flogging our assets off to them cheap is the primary goal of this corrupt policy.
Again, we need the opposition to stand up on this, and scare the markets with the threat of forced renationalisation unless the sales are approved by referendum. Do they have the courage to represent their voters, or will they represent the rich instead?