Labour and Greens keeping power policy details secret

Labour and the Greens want you to trust them to run the country.

They want you to believe the brochures, the tweets, the Facebook messages and policy headlines but they don’t want you to know the precise details of their doomed to fail power policy.

Investors wanting more certainty around Labour-Greens policy for overhauling the electricity sector before the election appear to be out of luck.

The parties released plans for radically restructuring the industry shortly before the float of Mighty River Power in May last year and their policy has hung over the partial privatisation programme since.

At an energy industry conference yesterday the architects of the policy, Labour finance spokesman David Parker and Greens co-leader Russel Norman, restated the broad principles of the NZ Power plans.

“We don’t plan to release much further detail before the election,” said Norman after a panel discussion at the Downstream conference in Auckland.

“We’ve released a lot more detail than the National Party did before the Bradford reforms.”

In government the parties would be in a much better position to develop policy using the bureaucracy at their disposal, Norman said.?

Labour and The Greens committed wanton economic and corporate sabotage with their prior announcement.

Mighty River’s share price tumbling soon after listing and weak demand for Meridian Energy later last year meant the Government raised less than forecast. Genesis Energy will hit the market next month and is also seen as a hard sell.

Tauranga’s Energy Consumer Trust, a third owner of TrustPower, said that since the policy announcement $100 million had been stripped from its stake in the power company.

But Norman played down the impact of the Labour-Greens announcement.

“Our policy was announced before the [Mighty River] IPO so any allegation that we’re responsible for it is untrue.The Government spent a lot of money advertising and telling them it was a great investment,” said Norman. “Based on the share price so far that certainly hasn’t turned out to be true.”

Mighty River Power chief executive Doug Heffernan – who lined up in a panel debate with former Labour Energy Minister David Butcher against Norman and Parker – said he understood why there was not much NZ Power detail but uncertainty was not helpful.

“That’s the problem with politics. Politics and commerce don’t intersect very well at all,” Heffernan said.

Hopes that investors would put money into utilities rather than speculating on property had not been realised.

“A lot of small shareholders were scared away. It’s definitely been a bad experience of investors post the IPO,” Heffernan said.

It was a deliberate and cynical ploy to destroy shareholder value to prove a political point.

The delicious irony is that David Cunliffe’s offshore controlled Kiwisaver account has bought into power companies.

 

Source Grant Bradley/ NZ Herald

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