Sell Transpower to better secure Auckland’s power
Undercapitalised, underinvesting and underperforming is how Libertarianz Leader Bernard Darnton today described Transpower, the 100% state owned national grid operator.
We have bureaucrats like the Electricity Commissioner — who himself generates not one watt of power — investigating this debacle. We have Labour not being accountable. We have Nick Smith waffling on about alternative power. And we have Trevor Mallard and Transpower running for cover when the answer is perfectly clear – Transpower suffers, like many state owned enterprises, from a lack of commercial discipline and incentives, said Darnton, and with this a lack of capital.
The answer is to privatise immediately at least a part of Transpower, letting a substantial private investor inject capital into the company, allowing it to invest in its infrastructure with certainty, and with it initiate a drive to be more efficient, to reduce costs and to make it better able to provide the capacity for electricity distribution that consumers demand, and are willing and more than able to pay for.
Libertarianz calls on the government to immediately sell 49% of Transpower to a private bidder, by offering part of the sale as an injection in capital in the firm. The proceeds of the sale would be used to further reduce government debt, increasing the already ample capacity for tax cuts. The remaining 51% should be privatised by distribution of shares to all New Zealand citizens – meaning the majority of the national grid will be publicly owned – by the most accountable way – with the public owning shares, able to buy and sell them as they see fit, and receiving dividends whenever appropriate. We’d also abolish Transpower’s protected monopoly and both the Electricity Commission and the RMA, and let the private sector invest in the national grid as growing demand for electricity makes it a sound investment.
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