John Key really doesn’t enjoy being reminded of the promises he made to New Zealanders before the election. It doesn’t matter whether it was the 2008 election or the 2011 election, he clearly doesn’t seem to think he should be held to his word. So here are a few of the commitments Key made about asset sales last year. You can be the judge.
“We’ve given the public a commitment: 85 to 90 per cent of these companies owned by New Zealanders” (John Key, TVNZ Leaders Debate, 23 Nov 2011).
The Mixed Ownership Model Bill introduced into parliament on Thursday contains no provisions that guarantee this. Under the legislation as tabled, there is nothing to stop 5-6 foreign investors scooping up all the listed shares.
“That was one of the tests I set out for the mixed-ownership model: that “New Zealand investors would have to be at the front of the queue for shareholdings”, and that we would have to be confident of widespread and substantial New Zealand share ownership.” (John Key, Question Time, 7 June 2011)
Once again, there is nothing in the Bill that gives New Zealander’s priority over foreign investors. There is also nothing to stop any NZers who do buy shares then on-selling them within a short space of time to a foreign buyer (remember how the local energy retailers were snapped up by overseas investors so quickly…)
“Kiwi mums and dads will be at the front of the queue…” (John Key, Question Time, 6 July 2011)
Leaving aside the obvious question of where these mums and dads are going to find several thousands of dollars to invest on the stockmarket at a time when many are struggling to pay thier own power bills, there is nothing in the legislation that puts mums and dads at the front of the queue at all.
“We’re giving people a commitment: no more than one shareholder can have 10 per cent, majority controlled owned by New Zealanders, 85 to 90 per cent of the entire company owned by New Zealanders. That is my commitment to them tonight as Prime Minister” (John Key, TVNZ Leaders Debate, 23 Nov 2011).
There is nothing in the Bill that ensures Key’s last promise will be honoured. Five foreign investors buying 10% each could scoop up the 49% that is publicly listed.
Guyon: “Can you guarantee that no more than 10 to 15 per cent of these shares will end up in foreign hands?” John Key: “Yes. I spent my life starting in investment banking. I know how these things work.” (John Key, TVNZ Leaders Debate, 23 Nov 2011).
Not sure this one needs any further comment really. It speaks for itself…
If you want to check out the full debate, the whole thing is up on Youtube: TVNZ Leaders Debate