The Government is this week preparing to list New Zealand's assets on the Australian stockmarket, says Labour MP Andrew Little.
The Government's aim is to sell off 49 per cent of state-owned energy companies Mighty River Power, Meridian, Genesis and Solid Energy.
The first, Mighty River Power, is expected to go on the New Zealand Stock Exchange by October.
''We know this week the Government is making preparations to list these state assets on the Australian Stock Exchange,'' Mr Little told the Taranaki Daily News. ''His goal is all about giving confidence to investors, including overseas investors, at the expense of the New Zealand legal processes going through their natural course.''Mr Little said.
Mr Little was commenting in New Plymouth during the small but vocal march on Saturday in opposition to the partial privatisation of state assets. All ages were represented in the New Plymouth protest action.
The group, which stopped traffic in the central business district, joined marchers in 15 towns and cities across New Zealand under the banner ''Stop the Thefts''.
Mr Little urged those who were against the sale to continue to take action, including supporting the petition for a citizens-based referendum.
The state assets should remain under government control, he said. They provided a crucial service to New Zealand and also gave a return to the government ''so everyone gets to enjoy them rather than just private investors''.
Grey Power New Plymouth president Hugh Johnson said the march, which left Huakoti Plaza and headed to New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young's office, was a joint action by many groups aimed at stopping the sales.
Grey Power's petition calling for the referendum was the way to continue to show that opposition, he said.
''That is the way to go. Electricity: we can't live without it.''
Electricity was an essential service which should be owned by the Government, he said. People feared that if the services were privatised, charges would go up to increase shareholders' profits.
Taranaki Service and Food Workers Union's Sam Jones agreed. Only 10 per cent of New Zealanders invested in the stock market while the rest struggled to pay their power bills. Those bills would only rise as these SOEs are sold and shareholders will demand increased profit, he said.
''Aotearoa is not for sale,'' Mr Jones said.
Legislation has already been passed to allow the sale of the first electricity company, Mighty River Power.
It is expected the shares will be offered for sale by September and listed on the stock exchange in late October or November.
The Government also wants to reduce its majority shareholding in Air New Zealand in coming years.
The intention is to create savings of between $5 billion and $7b to invest in schools, hospitals and broadband.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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