28 Nov 2011

Iwi interested in up to 20% of asset shares

11:27 am on 28 November 2011

The chair of Ngai Tahu says a consortium of tribes would be interested in buying up to 20% of the four state-owned power companies the National-led Government plans to partially sell.

National plans to sell up to 49% stakes in Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Energy and Solid Energy, as well as part of its shareholding in Air New Zealand.

Prime Minister John Key told Morning Report that his best guess was the sales could proceed from late 2012 with Mighty River Power or Genesis Energy most likely to be the first off the block.

Mr Key said a lot of work needed to be done before any sale can proceed, including changes to the State Owned Enterprise Act.

The government would need to take advice on the sale and there would also be a Select Committee process, he said.

Mr Key has said National's 48% of the party vote gives his Government a mandate to proceed with its asset sales programme.

Ngai Tahu chair and Iwi Chairs Forum member Mark Solomon told Nine to Noon iwi have expressed interest in buying shares for a few years now.

He says a partnership between iwi and government would work well as iwi will never leave the country and the earnings will stay in New Zealand and be re-invested.

However Mr Solomon said any decision to purchase shares would depend on the sale process and be subject to full due diligence of the assets.