Labour’s put out a release saying power prices are too high and “signalling that the future Labour Government will make changes to the sector so that New Zealanders considering purchasing shares in Mighty River Power, which go on sale tomorrow, are aware of that before investing”. In other words, ‘we’re gonna cut power prices, and the electricity companies’ profits will be hit’.
It’ll be interesting to see what reforms the opposition parties put up, because the status quo clearly isn’t working.
The politics of this is smart. It moves the asset sales argument on to new ground, rather than the Left trying to deny something that is going to happen, they’re shifting to an ‘us and them’ struggle, with National on the side of the small elite and foreign investors while the Left’s on the side of households facing rising power bills and people who can’t afford to or don’t want to buy shares.
National will be standing for higher power prices to pay dividends to overseas owners of our power companies; the Left will be standing for fairly priced power for families and fewer dividends flowing out of the country.
I wouldn’t be betting my money on power company profits against that political backdrop.