Parliament has passed a controversial bill that will pave the way for a partial sale of four state-owned energy companies.

The Mixed Ownership Model bill passed today with 61 votes to 60.

The passing of the legislation will see 49 per cent of Government ownership of Mighty River Power sold by the end of September.

United Future leader Peter Dunne's vote and Act MP John Banks' vote combined with the 59 National votes to form the majority, with 60 dissenting votes from Labour, the Green Party, New Zealand First, the Maori Party and Mana's Hone Harawira.


United Future leader Peter Dunne was noticeably absent from the final reading of the bill today as he was attending a family funeral.

Mr Dunne's vote for the bill was cast by proxy by National.

Members cried out "shame,'' at Mr Dunne's vote.

The sale of Mighty River Power is expected to fetch between $1.7 billion and $1.8b.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday said the partial sale of power companies Meridian and Genesis would follow, and would net $3.96b to $4.23b revenue from the programme.

A man wearing a Peter Dunne mask who allegedly gave MPs the finger today was removed from the public gallery by police.