Hey Minister Leave our assets alone

Letter Writing Campaign Kicks-Off

Keep Our Assets - Christchurch says that the arguments about the bargain bin level price of Meridian’s share, and about how much or how little the sale will raise, miss the point: that Meridian should not be sold at all. 

The dismal response to the share float, even at giveaway prices on a buy now, pay later basis, proves that “mum and dad” New Zealanders are not stupid. They know that they already own Meridian – that’s what public ownership is, after all - , so why should they pay to buy a tiny piece of what they already own in full. They recognise that the Government is trying to bribe them with their own money, and is trying to sell them back stolen property that already belongs to them.

The Meridian share float (and those of Mighty River Power and the other SOES on the block) is nothing to do with “paying off debt” and everything to do with pressing on blindly with the failed 1980s’ ideology of “public bad, private good”, and handing over more of the New Zealand people’s publicly-owned assets to transnational Big Business. How long before the long suffering taxpayer has to rescue one or more of these and buy them back, as happened with the railways and Air New Zealand?

And the argument over the size of the dividend that Meridian and the other electricity SOEs pays to the Government also misses the point – that What is needed instead is a political commitment that State-owned companies supplying an essential service actually be a public service rather than profit-obsessed corporations, ones which are publicly owned whilst exhibiting all the worst characteristics of privately owned Big Business corporations. That requires a political decision to change the business model of those State-Owned Enterprises from profit to service. That was the status quo in NZ until the 1980s. The country’s electricity system existed to ensure nationwide, coordinated, uninterrupted supply of an essential service, at cost. We did it before: let's do it again.

KOA is calling on all Meridian customers to write to SOEs Minister Tony Ryall to tell him: “Don’t sell our power company”. 

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