The Maori Council’s last ditch bid for freshwater and geothermal resource ownership rights is underway at the Supreme Court today.
Five judges are presiding over the case and will determine if the High Court was right to dismiss the Council’s request for a judicial review into the Government’s partial asset sales plan.
The public gallery is completely full with people spilling over into the foyer to watch the proceedings on a TV screen.
Mana Party leader Hone Harawira and a group of supporters are among those attending the hearing.
The Maori Council, joined by the Waikato River and Dam Claim Trust, argue the Government was unlawful in its process to sell 49 percent of Mighty River Power because water rights were not resolved.
Both the Council and Trust claim Maori own the fresh water and geothermal resources used by Mighty River Power to generate electricity.
They want their ownership recognised when the company is no longer wholly owned by the state, but how this is achieved is undecided.
The case went before the High Court in December but Justice Ronald Young found no grounds for a judicial review, saying the Government’s consultation with Maori was adequate.
The Maori Council appealed the decision at the Supreme Court where it will be decided if there are in fact grounds for a judicial review.
The case will likely wrap up tomorrow and the judges are expected to reserve their decision.