New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has described the government's plan to sell shares four state-owned energy companies as a giant ponzi scheme.
Mr Peters told an audience at the Wainuiomata RSA this afternoon that the power companies identified for the government's mixed ownership model were owned by the people of New Zealand and they should stay that way, despite overseas interest.
“They are profitable and they are being eyed greedily from overseas,” he said.
“The government wants you to spend your money, buying what you already own except for shares that it will retain for what it will refer to as a cornerstone shareholder.”
The cornerstone shareholder will be a company set up and backed by overseas interests, Mr Peters said.
“The shares owned by the few mum and dads will be swamped by those issued to institutions and those sold to the overseas cornerstone shareholder.”
The Contact Energy experience and the sell-off of state assets under Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson taught New Zealand First that the worst action to take after a mistake is to repeat it, Mr Peters said.
“We teach our children to learn from their mistakes.
“Somehow the National government and its cling-on partner Act don’t understand that it is the height of folly to keep repeating mistakes like selling power stations.
“If we had our way – and the money – we would take back, on behalf of the people, every such energy generating and distribution system in the country.”
New Zealand needed to maintain control of its natural resources, such as its rivers and lakes, he said.
“Just think about these lakes and rivers being controlled from an overseas boardroom.
“If they want to drop the level of Lake Taupo 50m to feed some power stations downstream, who is going to stop them?
“You see, this government is not just going to sell power stations it is going to sell the rights to the water from the lakes and the rivers to generate the power.
“No one will buy a power station if they do not have a guaranteed water right.”