Genesis accused of secrecy

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 05:00 25/10/2012

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Genesis Energy, New Zealand's largest electricity retailer, is facing accusations of closing up shop at a time when it should be preparing for greater public scrutiny.

Yesterday the company, which has almost half a million customers, posted speech notes from its annual meeting, held in a central Auckland hotel on Tuesday.

The event was notified in the classified pages of an Auckland newspaper, and Genesis had contacted "certain stakeholders".

However, Genesis opted not to notify the media, spokesman Richard Gordon said.

It also did not give notice of the meeting to the stock exchange.

"We weren't going to say anything different to what we did at our annual results," Gordon said.

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) such as Genesis are encouraged to hold public meetings, although it is not mandatory.

However, Genesis, lined up with three other SOEs to be partially privatised by the Government, claims to be acting as if it were a public company already.

Genesis is not the only company taking a lower-key approach to dealing with the public.

Mighty River Power usually holds a public meeting about October.

However, when its float was pushed back into 2013, a decision was taken to have no meeting.

A leading opponent of the Government's privatisation plans said the process appeared to be creating "added secrecy" rather than greater transparency.

"It would seem on the surface to be a response to the privatisation process," Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said.

"They don't want the kind of scrutiny they would get at a public meeting from the media and the public."

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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