Mixed ownership of state assets good for stock market - Joyce

The government's plan to sell shares in four state-owned energy companies was that listing them would help anchor the stock market, the Associate Finance Minister claims.

One of the biggest pluses in the government's plan to sell shares in four state-owned energy companies was that listing them would help anchor the stock market, Associate Finance Minister Steven Joyce said this afternoon.

In a speech to the Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce, Mr Joyce said the partial floats of what would be four big listings would not only be good for the government's books, it would also help to reinvigorate the stock market.

That would be of great benefit to New Zealand's future, he said.

“We need to get an investment culture based in this country,” he said.

Mr Joyce told those at the meeting that they faced challenges much closer to home, as in general the lower North Island had underperformed in recent years and it was up to Wellington businesspeople to do something about that.

Growth in the region during the last 10 years was negative, he said, and Wellington, as the biggest city, had to lead the change.

“It's crucially important that Wellington picks up the baton and drives forward,” Mr Joyce said.

Due to cuts in state sector spending, the city could not rely on the public sector to make that happen, he said.

“It requires the whole city and the whole region to push ahead on all fronts.

“The people in this room can help achieve that,” he said.

Mr Joyce was cagey when asked whether a single Wellington council would help lift Wellington's economic performance.

He said he was not there to make a case for a single council.

However, he pointed to Auckland as an example worth looking at, following the introduction of the super city model.

Mr Joyce said he had personal experience of how hard it was in Auckland to get something done when the city was split eight ways, as it was before it united under one council.

However, while there were benefits, Mr Joyce said it was important to have local government that was able to listen to and appreciate different views.

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