Double setbacks for asset sales programme
Tue, 10 Jul 2012 6:00p.m.
By Patrick Gower
The Government's asset sales programme has been hit on two fronts today, thanks to the Maori Council's urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing aimed at stopping the sell-off until issues around Maori ownership of water are decided.
First, a high-profile investment adviser agreed there is enough doubt about the rights to water to make prospective investors think twice about buying.
Then, National's support partner, the Maori Party, fired up at Prime Minister John Key's indication that the Tribunal could just be ignored anyway.
The war of words raged on, directed at John Key for saying the Tribunal isn't binding and could simply be ignored and won't stop asset sales.
“I think he should just shut up,” says Maori activist Titewhai Harawira.
And the Harawira family had a warning for potential mum and dad investors too.
This fight by Maori for water rights will be in the courts for years, so buyers beware, says Mana Party leader Hone Harawira.
“It is like trying to buy a car without the ownership papers,” says Mr Harawira. “That's what it is. John Key is trying to sell a car, but he doesn't have the ownership papers.”
The Harawira view has support from investment expert Gareth Morgan.
The power companies for sale rely on water, and he says the rights to that are in too much doubt.
“Unless you are getting this for a bargain basement price, which in the taxpayers’ case they are not going to sell it, or if there's no resolution, I tend to agree with Hone,” says Mr Morgan.
“Everyone needs to make their own decision, but obviously the Government's preference would be that these issues would be cleared up prior to the 49 percent of shares being taken to the market,” says John Key.
But resolution might not come that easy.
Maori Council co-chair and retired High Court judge Eddie Durie has already said it will go the courts if the Government ignores it.
That could mean an injunction by the Maori Council. There's an injunction threat from elements within Tuwharetoa – the Pouakani case about riverbed ownership, the Whanganui River Treaty claim to be settled and the Maori Party calling on iwi and hapu to make riverbed and water claims.
“It’s a dog's breakfast really isn't it?” says Gareth Morgan.
But the Prime Minister pushes on, reiterating to Rachel Smalley on Firstline this morning that the Government is prepared to ignore the Tribunal.
Those comments are now causing big problems, with Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples hitting out tonight, calling it an "insult to all Maori".
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12/07/2012 10:19:38 a.m.
Thank to the Treaty Of Waitangi!
11/07/2012 8:07:37 p.m.
Bye bye asset sales. Unless this government have planned all along to give the power companies away at fire sale prices to overseas bankers.
11/07/2012 6:39:14 p.m.
Sea Weed wrote:
John Key and his avaricious little fwends are an insult to all New Zealanders. Thank The Treaty Of Waitangi, people, because without it the whole country would be in foreign ownership by now.
11/07/2012 2:39:43 a.m.
so if all this happens and then there is a big flood that takes out my building. will the money come from ....
11/07/2012 12:00:15 a.m.
To Brian: All those beneficiaries? Do you mean the people put out of work by the recession? Coincidentally, before the recession we had quite low unemployment. Or perhaps you mean the lazy, feckless disabled people who are so undeserving of our help. Damn them for putting themselves in such a position, they must have made poor life choices. Incidentally, let's not forget it is a recession created by greedy, ideological finance dealers like our own dear PM. Perhaps if Mr. Key hadn't cut taxes for the same rich people he wouldn't have to scrape around to find money. Funny how the poor always get it worse when there is a recession, and the rich get it easy, isn't it?
10/07/2012 11:51:27 p.m.
Just a little education for you Brian.... know right wingers dont like real facts because that would make you educated, however here are some real facts for you.
In 2009 when John Key took power New Zealand had no external deficit.
High unemployment as a result of the recession meant the tax take shrink and take the country into deficit.
Nothing to do with labour however and there was no Government debt left over from labour... but continue to lie if you must lol
Uneducated right wingers make attrocious mouth pieces.
By the way every single system that National has made changes too is now failing.
ACC, Winz, Housing NZ, Front line biosecurity.
All key is doing is firing people and fixing nothing.
10/07/2012 11:46:38 p.m.
Laurence Hill wrote:
I feel sorry for you Brian the debt is actually not labour's. National had a clean slate when they came in, Labor had paid off all the debts it was actually national who started the borrowing again, secondly selling off the assetts is an incredibly short sighted and short term solution to the problems they created by given the rich such vast tax cut, lets face it the only people who can afford these shares are nationals fat cat mates in the financial sector.
10/07/2012 11:30:10 p.m.
AT KOHINE RATA. They need to make money from something to pay all those beneficeiries. I Think John has more honour than most people in this country
10/07/2012 11:12:44 p.m.
I Totally agree with John key, NO ONE OWNS THE WATER. Good on you John. Good to see your not just giving in like the labour party did, and in doing so, got this country so much in debt.
10/07/2012 10:31:53 p.m.
kohine rata wrote:
John Key obviously lacks honour.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi is NZ founding document. Water Companies have been taking water and selling and John Key says no one owns water they make money from water. So what planet is he on.
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