21 December 2004
Government Bullied Into Selling Powerco Shares
Rt Hon Winston Peters has accused the Government of being bullied into approving the sale of a majority stake in New
Plymouth based Powerco to Australian Prime Infrastructure.
This follows the release of official papers that show Finance Minister Michael Cullen and acting Land Information
Minister Paul Swain were advised that a refusal to approve Prime Infrastructure’s purchase of Taranaki electricity and
gas company Powerco shares could hurt trans-Tasman relations.
“Lower down the pecking order the papers also showed the deal failed to guarantee the creation of new job opportunities
or keep existing jobs that might otherwise be lost, said Mr Peters.
“At no stage did Dr Cullen reveal he was being heavied by the Australians.
“It is outrageous that he caved in to pressure from the Australian business community and announced on October 21 that
the purchase complies with New Zealand’s regulatory framework so the Government cannot credibly intervene to prevent it
under the Overseas Investment Act.
“Dr Cullen and his Labour colleagues have let the country down and are no different to National when it comes to
flogging off valuable publicly owned assets overseas.
“New Zealand First will put an end to this type of sale after the next election,” said Mr Peters.