NZ Post Chairman Michael Cullen announced today that NZ Post wants to sell 45% of Kiwibank. That’s a similar proportion to the part asset sales of the power companies in the last term.
Troubled state-owned New Zealand Post is selling 45 per cent of Kiwibank, 25 per cent to the New Zealand Super Fund and 20 per cent to ACC.
The deal values Kiwibank at $1.1 billion, NZ Post chairman Sir Michael Cullen said. Both entities are owned by the New Zealand government.
If the sale goes ahead, NZ Post will receive $495 million for its stake.
So that’s still public ownership but with shares being sold to investors the Super Fund and ACC.
John Key is in favour.
Prime Minister John Key said it was good solution
Key rejected suggestions it was a compromise to get around the Government’s opposition to further selling off of state assets.
Labour seems to be backing it too:
Labour leader Andrew Little said it was important Kiwibank stayed in public ownership.
“And this does that, there are some good conditions around it,” he said.
“This provides a way to get extra capital from these sovereign wealth funds, and hopefully for NZ Post to use the funds that they raise from the sale, to put more capital into Kiwibank.
Meanwhile, Labour Party state-owned enterprise spokesman David Parker said Cullen should be congratulated on the idea.
“Michael Cullen should be congratulated for securing a route to expand KiwiBank and keep it in public ownership, given the refusal of National to provide more capital for NZ Post or KiwiBank.
Greens have more concerns:
Green Party co-leader James Shaw said the move opened the door to partial privatisation.
“This deal makes it harder for the Government to use Kiwibank to drive competition in the banking sector, as the Green Party announced we’d do, because the Government can’t direct the Super and ACC funds in the way it could have directed Kiwibank,” he said.
“The fact is the Government forced Kiwibank’s hand and today’s announcement will make it easier than it was before to move Kiwibank into private ownership.”
…said Shaw’s argument, that the Government was able to direct Kiwibank, was “completely incorrect”
“Kiwibank is a 100 per cent owned subsidiary of New Zealand Post but in terms of the Companies Act and Reserve Bank requirements it must act independently in terms of its activities.
“The Government cannot direct New Zealand Post, nor through New Zealand Post can it direct Kiwibank.”
And the person who made Kiwibank happen, Jim Anderton via Newshub:
Founder of Kiwibank, Jim Anderton believes the move to sell 45% of New Zealand Post shares in Kiwibank was the best option available.
So part from the Greens it looks like there will be little opposition.