Chapter 21

Weak Regulation, Rising Margins, and Asset Revaluations

New Zealand’s Failing Experiment in Electricity Reform

Geoff Bertram,    Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington

1 Introduction

Reform of the New Zealand electricity sector began in 1986, as part of a wave of neoliberal policy changes pushed through by the Fourth Labour Government (1984–2000). In that year, two major pieces of legislation—the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986 (SOE Act) and the Commerce Act 1986—transformed the institutional and policy environment within which electricity, along with other publicly owned essential services, was produced and delivered.

The SOE Act changed the primary objective of these enterprises from social service ...

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