Maori Council claims victory over court action
Tue, 23 Oct 2012 4:42p.m.
By Lloyd Burr
The Maori Council is claiming victory after Cabinet halted plans to remove Mighty River Power from the State Owned Enterprises Act.
However, Prime Minister John Key says it is “hardly a victory” as the Government always intended to work through any legal action before 49 percent of the company is floated in March next year.
The Government planned to begin the partial privatisation today by getting Cabinet’s approval followed by an order-in-council by Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae.
But those plans were put on hold after the High Court suggested the issue be debated in front of a judge.
The Maori Council and the Government will return to court in a month’s time for a substantive hearing over who owns the rights to fresh water and geothermal resources.
Cabinet’s back-down is being hailed a victory by the Council’s deputy chair Rahui Katene.
“It means they are holding off on their timetable which they had set down very strongly. But it’s not a full victory because we haven’t had the chance yet to sit down with the Crown,” she says.
Mr Key says the order-in-council wasn’t needed today but was publicised to prompt legal action from the Council.
“We set [the order-in-council] down for today because that is the trigger point that meant if someone was going to take us to court, they had to start acting then or lose the opportunity,” he says.
He says he is confident the judicial review will be over before Mighty River Power is put on the market between March and July next year.
“The courts have a history of understanding the timetable of the Government, recognising there is some urgency around these issues and dealing with that.”
The court hearing is expected to cost the Maori Council more than $400,000, with some of the money raised through iwi trusts.
“It’s a very costly process. We’d love to be able to save that money…But there are a lot of Maori who are very interested in this issue,” she says.
Two judges are expected to preside over the hearing when it begins on November 26.
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24/10/2012 6:57:46 a.m.
@Carlos exposing the inequalities of funding court action is a victory especially when Maaori taxes also prop up the Governments position. Its very clear the Crown system is geared up to oppress the Maaori nation in every way possible denying them the same rights and privileges the NZ nation is entitled to., even though it's been proven many times over that the NZ nation illegally obtained territory assets (land) in the process. The victory is in exposing the injustices of a colonial campaign to quash equal entitlements to its Treaty partner the Maaori nation and monitored by influential bodies like the Human Rights officers in the UN. What we may think is standard political practice in NZ certainly raises alarm bells internationally.
23/10/2012 8:59:02 p.m.
Some victory for them, to spend $400,000 of its own peoples money on lawyers, in a case they 'will' lose.
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