A High Court judge hopes to rule on the Maori legal challenge to the Government's partial asset sale plans before Christmas, though he believes his decision won't be the final one on the case.
Justice Ronald Young reserved his decision on Wednesday on the challenge by the Maori Council and Waikato River iwi following a three-day hearing in the High Court in Wellington.
Justice Young told the parties his judgment was likely to be released before Christmas, but he expected the case to go further given the stated intention of both parties of appealing all the way to the Supreme Court.
"I'm a bus stop on the way to the ultimate destination," he told the parties.
The Maori Council and river iwi argue partial privatisation of energy companies Mighty River Power, Meridian, Genesis Energy and Solid Energy will compromise Maori water interests and could affect Treaty of Waitangi claims.
The Government plans on selling 49 per cent of the companies, starting with Mighty River Power early next year.