65 Iwi offered a chance to *purchase* shares

Bill English and Chris Finlayson have announced:

groups yet to complete their Treaty settlements will be offered the opportunity to participate in the Government share offer programme, Finance Minister Bill English and Minister Chris Finlayson say.

“This is a result of our constructive engagement with Iwi leaders and their technical advisers,” the ministers say. “It is another example of how direct engagement with the Crown can produce pragmatic solutions that provide an opportunity for more New Zealanders to participate in the share floats and support Iwi and the Crown to settle historic Treaty claims.” …

As a result of today’s announcement, Iwi yet to settle their claims can choose to receive a percentage of their forecast settlement package “on account” in the form of shares in the Government share offer companies. Mr Finlayson says “on-account” arrangements were not new for Iwi in negotiations with the Crown. The facility has been used by many Iwi in the past.  They must pay the full issue price and any amount drawn down will be deducted from the final settlement.

This is the key point. All shares will be purchased at the same price as other New Zealand buyers.

Effectively what the Government has done is say some Iwi already have negotiated a settlement, while some have not concluded their negotiations – so we’ll allow those not yet concluded to purchase shares in advance of their final settlement.

They are limiting the amount they can purchase to around 10% of their likely settlement, so there is no danger of any share purchase being greater than the actual settlement.

“It does not change the total amount of Treaty settlements. It simply allows Iwi more flexibility about how their settlement money is invested, and we believe it will enhance the share offer programme,” Mr Finlayson says.

A key point also. There will be no extra money for share purchases. It is just basically a credit facility.

Mr English says the actual amount to be advanced as on-account payments for shares will depend on the level of take-up by Iwi. The Treasury estimates that if all Iwi take up their full entitlement, this will amount to $145 million over the entire Government share offer programme.

“Even if all Iwi take up their full entitlement and allocate all of it to the Mighty River Power share offer alone, it would still represent less than 5 per cent of the shares of Mighty River Power,” Mr English says.

I hope many Iwi do purchase shares. As a permanent part of NZ, Iwi owning shares will help keep more of them in NZ ownership.

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