22 Jul 2012

NZers at front of queue for asset shares says PM

9:27 pm on 22 July 2012

Prime Minister John Key has confirmed the Government will use a loyalty bonus scheme to encourage New Zealanders to hold on to shares in the first of the state-owned companies up for partial sale.

Mr Key outlined more details of the planned sale at the National Party conference on Sunday.

Legislation passed in June opens the way for the Government to sell up to 49% of shares in Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power and Solid Energy.

The first share offer will be in Mighty River Power, probably in September.

Mr Key told the conference in Auckland that investors who hold shares in Mighty River Power for a minimum period, probably three years, will be given more free shares at that point.

The minimum investment will be $1000. Individual investors who want to buy up to $2000 of shares will have a guarantee that they will be able to purchase that amount.

Mr Key said no guarantees would be given to institutional investors on how many shares they would be able to buy, which he said was another way of ensuring ordinary New Zealanders were at the front of the queue for the shares.

The Prime Minister said full details will be announced closer to the time of the sale.

Protest outside venue

Outside the National Party conference, about 50 anti-poverty protestors rallied to show their opposition to changes to welfare policies, including harsher conditions for beneficiaries.

The protest was organised by Auckland Action Against Poverty.

Its spokesperson, former Green Party MP Sue Bradford, describes the welfare policy changes as brutal.

"This is about tens of thousands of families, parents, adults and children who are suffering every day because of Paula Bennett's welfare policies and because of their lack of a housing strategy because of the way this Government just doesn't care about what it's doing to low income people in this country".

Ms Bradford says she is pleased with the protest turnout.

A large number of police were also present at the rally.