Next window for Mighty River Power sale in March, if water rights issues delay November plan, PM Key says

Next window for Mighty River Power sale in March, if water rights issues delay November plan, PM Key says

A delay in the planned November partial sale of Mighty River Power will cost the government money, Prime Minister John Key says.

The next window for an initial public offering was March/April, he said.

The government last week asked the Waitangi Tribunal to issue a report on how the partial sales of Mighty River, Genesis and Meridian Energy would affect potential Maori water rights claims under the Treaty of Waitangi by August 24.

Following hearings through July, the Tribunal had said it would release its report in September.

But Finance Minister Bill English and SOE Minister Tony Ryall said the government needed to make a decision whether to go ahead with the sale this year by the first week of September. That would allow for the sale to be completed in the first week of December - the latest point this year it could go ahead, English and Ryall said.

Speaking on TVNZ's Breakfast programme this morning, Key said there were only two windows a year the government could take a company to the market, "because we need audited accounts."

“That’s really November, or March," he said.

“It costs the government money if we have to go in March/April, so our preference is obviously October/November. But if that’s the way it is, then that’s the way it is.”

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Hopefully this admission suggests a delay is inevitable.

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