The initial sell-down of state-owned assets may be smaller than the government originally planned - at the request of the companies themselves.

The government wants to sell up to 49 per cent of four state-owned energy companies and reduce its stake in Air New Zealand, in a move it says would raise $5-$7 billion.

However, Finance Minister Bill English told Radio New Zealand some of the companies' boards have asked that the initial offerings be reduced.

"There'll be a discussion with companies about whether you sell down all 49 per cent straight away," he said.

"I expect some of the companies will argue that because they've got expansion plans and they would rather have a sell-down of, say, 45 per cent, so they don't have to come to the Crown for capital."

NZ Newswire

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