If you weren’t paying attention you could easily miss the fact that Meridian shares are opening today. that’s because there’s been a lot less mainstream hoopla about it than there was with the sale of MRP. Despite the face there’s been a whole host of taxpayer funded sweetners attached to the deal.
According to TVNZ half of the shares in Meridian have already been subscribed to by “retail investors” after brokers were invited to registers for clients.
Unlike the MRP sale which was touted as getting new investors into the market, this sale seems to be focused on transferring taxpayer wealth to the usual suspects as quickly and quietly as possible. I imagine this free-money float will also further harm the value of the MRP shares a few “mum and dad investors” did actually purchase.
My guess is we’ll see a further accelerated asset sales programme, along with rapid implementation of other unpopular National party policy as the government’s backers start to realise that a third term is increasingly unlikely and the push comes on to get as much through as they can. The referendum will be adding to the heat.
National’s problem is they’ll be relying on Peter Dunne to do it, but he’ll be looking to distance himself from them as he senses the mood changing and looks for a space in the next government (as he has already shown with his RMA push-back).