Court moots 25 percent cap on asset sales
Thu, 31 Jan 2013 4:40p.m.
Chief Justice Sian Elias has floated the prospect of restraining the Government to selling no more than 25 percent of state-owned power companies while it sorts out a long term solution to Maori ownership claims to freshwater.
Her comments came at the end of the first morning of two days' scheduled hearings in the Supreme Court on the Maori Council's challenge to the Government's partial assets sales policy.
It followed lengthy questioning of the council's lawyer, Colin Carruthers QC, about the responsibility for finding a means of redress for Maori grievances lies with the Government rather than Maori claimants.
"A protective mechanism could be that the Crown will only divest 25 percent until there's some resolution," says Dame Sian.
Such an outcome would put a serious dent in the Government's plans to raise as much as $4.85 billion from the sale of up to 49 percent of Mighty River Power and Meridian Energy, valued at $3.3 billion and $6.5b respectively, before the end of this year.
For a sale of just 25 percent of the two, the Government might reap only around $2.4b.
It intends committing capital raised by the sales to public infrastructure and facilities instead of increasing Government borrowing.
Mr Carruthers had argued earlier that even with majority control of 51 percent, the Government would be weakened in its ability to force Treaty settlement terms on partially privatised companies, leaving Maori capacity to seek redress "significantly impaired".
The Maori Council is appealing a High Court decision not to allow the cabinet's decision to proceed with asset sales to be judicially reviewed.
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3/02/2013 6:39:22 p.m.
Atrout, Yes to the first part of your statement and No to the second part of the statement simply because two nations have invested interest in the assets. The government (Crown Agent) should forfeit its illegal obligation to any assets that were wrongfully acquired; rivers, forest, mountains, sea including power and control over such assets. No clear thinking citizen will agree to a convicted perpetrator maintaining power and control over its illegal haul of treasures yet blindly enough we do.
1/02/2013 9:38:11 a.m.
No sale of SOEs would be the best outcome and should not include any question of special water rights for anyone except stewardship by the Crown on behalf of all citizens.
1/02/2013 8:31:43 a.m.
Wow, John Key and his government wont like that. I wonder if they will change the law again if the decision doesn't go their way? They have done it before.
1/02/2013 7:39:07 a.m.
@ Jono.....National (Key) campaigned for almost a year prior to the 2011 election saying 'vote for us and we will sell 49% of some SOE's...and they got the majority of the vote...because you lefties couldn't be bothered to vote doesn't mean national have to stop the sales because you think 'it's not fair'..lol, dry your eyes and accept it. maori greed will not stop the sales, supreme court will not overturn lower courts decision...sorted!
31/01/2013 5:11:02 p.m.
Great suggestion... or no more than 33% anyway. Ideal compromise. JK needs to get real and accept that he is not the CEO of a corporation or the dictator of some banana republic, he is the (useless) PM of a diverse country and he should be working for the benefit of the citizens of this country. His general attitude is one of total flippancy towards anyone who does not lick his boots.
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