Mercury's Future for Mercury - Not Government

  • Max Bradford

Energy Minister Max Bradford said today that the future structure of Mercury Energy is an issue for the board and trust to decide, not the Government.

Mr Bradford rejected unattributed allegations published in the New Zealand Herald this morning that the Government had moved to "wrest control of Mercury Energy from Aucklanders and prepare it for privatisation".

"The Government has helped facilitate the appointment of a new and independent board chairman, and has expressed the view that it is inappropriate for trust members to be appointed as board directors by the trust, but that is all." Mr Bradford said.

"We are obviously watching Mercury and the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust with great interest, given the findings of the Report into the Auckland Power Supply Failure.

"But the Government has no role in defining the future structure of the company, other than monitoring progress towards meeting the requirements of the Electricity Industry Reform Act.

"The Act does not force privatisation - but gives power companies and trusts a variety of options to meet the requirement of separately owned lines and trading/generation parts of the business by the year 2003.

"Mercury appears to want to move quite quickly towards separation, and that is entirely their decision."