The New Zealand Herald doesn’t have the story about asset sales quite right, when it reports on The Boss’s splendied speech to the party conference.
The newspaper says (here) –
Any New Zealander wanting to buy up to $2000 of shares in Mighty River Power when 49 per cent of it is floated will be guaranteed to buy them, Prime Minister John Key said today.
No, not any New Zealander wanting to buy.
Only every New Zealander with enough dosh to be able to afford to pay.
That bit of the deal comes in the Herald’s very next sentence –
He also confirmed that the minimum purchase will be $1000.
But the important thing for Alf is that the share offer will be organised in such a way that Kiwis are at the front of the queue for shares.
The Boss said no guarantees would be offered to company buyers.
He expected around 85 per cent to 90 per cent public ownership of the former state-owned assets, of which 51 per cent will be Government owned.
That’s an interesting point.
Alf supposes it’s good to have 85 per cent to 90 per cent public ownership, and that 90 per cent is better than 85 per cent.
Of course, he mused, we could have 100 per cent public ownership by not selling the bloody shares to anyone, but that’s a Labour argument and Alf expects to be admonished for mentioning it.
So what else did we learn?
“Those New Zealand seeking up to $2000 worth of shares will not have their offer scaled back,” he said. “In other words, New Zealanders applying for up to $2000 worth of shares are guaranteed to receive the shares they apply for.
“Big institutions aren’t getting any guarantees, so this is another way we are putting everyday New Zealanders at the front of the queue.”
The definition of New Zealander is important, of course.
For the purposes of the offer The Boss was talking about a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident (or, if it is a company, a declaration that it is majority New Zealand owned).
The buyer must have a valid IRD number, a New Zealand bank account and a New Zealand address.
Fair enough, too.
The ominous bit of what’s happening is that the sale is scheduled to be completed by November unless it is delayed by court action.
The unedifying spectre of the Maori Council going to court with water claims based on strong spiritual beliefs beyond the ken of Pakeha is raised at this juncture.
Those beliefs critically involve taniwha.
Dunno if there isn’t a simple solution here.
While these taniwha happen to be invisible, at least they are indigenous.
Perhaps we should extend Kiwi citizenship to them so they can buy shares, too, although getting their pictures on to a passport or any other identity document could be difficult.