National’s cornerstone economic policy, asset sales, has been a complete failure, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.
The Government has announced that it plans to sell Genesis for $1.55 a share, or up to $736 million gross if the entire 49% is sold. That would bring the total gross revenue for the asset sales to $4.68 billion, less than half the $10 billion John Key originally projected and less than the official $5-$7 billion target National set at the beginning of the asset sales programme.
“National should have listened to the people of New Zealand and cancelled the asset sales. John Key’s legacy as a Prime Minister will be that he ignored overwhelming public opposition to pursue his failed policy of selling our assets,” said Dr Norman.
“Let’s not forget that National made selling our assets its cornerstone economic policy. That policy has failed to deliver on the promises that Mr Key made.
“Mr Key said asset sales would raise as much as $10 billion; they’ve raised just $4.7 billion. Mr Key said that the asset sales would cost $100 million; so far, they’ve cost $550 million.
“The government predicted 250,000 ‘mum and dad’ investors for each sale, but Kiwis refused to buy what they already own and most of the retail shares went to a wealthy few. National said that asset sales would improve competition in the electricity sector; in reality, power prices have risen even as demand has fallen.
“The taxpayer has already lost $147 million in dividends from the shares that have been sold. The lost dividends from our assets will leave a $150 million-a-year hole in the government’s accounts forever.
“It’s still not too late. Mr Key should admit that his cornerstone economic policy has been a complete failure and stop the sale of Genesis,” said Dr Norman.