PM rejects claims of Maori Council victory
Tue, 23 Oct 2012 6:20p.m.
By Brook Sabin
The Maori Council is claiming an early victory in its battle over water rights, after the Government decided to halt an important step in its asset sales programme.
Ministers were due to remove Mighty River Power as a state-owned enterprise this afternoon, but after a last-minute court challenge, that's on hold.
The Maori Council headed to court to stop the Government in its tracks. But a court order wasn't needed, as everyone agreed to taihoa (wait) for the moment.
“What we've had so far is a partial victory, I guess you could say,” says Maori Council deputy chairman Rahui Katane.
The Government was due to remove Mighty River Power from the State-Owned Enterprises Act today – a step closer to partial sale. But it put that on hold after the court agreed to a full hearing on water rights next month.
Prime Minister John Key rejects claims of a Maori victory.
“The victory is whether they can win in court, and the Government's view is that we've got a very, very strong position,” says Mr Key.
The full court hearing will add to an already costly dispute. So far there's been a $190,000 Waitangi Tribunal hearing, $320,000 for the Maori Council in legal aid, a further $680,000 for Crown lawyers and $55,000 to consult on the shares-plus concept. That’s a total of $1.2 million.
“This is a very profligate Government, pursuing an ideological agenda at the expense of taxpayers,” says Green Party co-leader Russel Norman.
Doug Heffernan is also adding to the bill. The Mighty River Power chief executive earns $1.4 million, and he'll get a $500,000 for overseeing the company's partial sale.
“Kids are starving,” says Mana Party leader Hone Harawira. “Put the money into feeding the kids, mate. Jesus.”
So the court battle is set for next month, and there's the distinct possibility it could go all the way to the Supreme Court. But the Government is confident of winning, saying Mighty River Power will be sold in the early stages of next year.
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7/11/2012 12:33:31 p.m.
Key must GO we have many good mens from the Paliament to take its place.
24/10/2012 4:11:35 p.m.
Im with Contact, cheapest power weve had for years. Check your prices Kathy, you might be pleasantly surprised.
I supported the Asset sales but not now, too many people going to get free shares and to much cost for advisors etc.
And no longer trust the sneaky John Key. My biggest worry is the constitution he is going to sneak through without a referendum. Looking at his Constitution panel scares the hell out of me.
23/10/2012 8:23:29 p.m.
All the people of New Zealand do have the power to stop this sale from happening. Mercury may currently provide the cheapest electricity pricing, however do you think that will remain the same once it is privatised? no, they will follow contacts example and institute heavy price rises. Shareholders in Mercury will be able to take the government to court in order to force better returns. If people in this country are serious about saving their assets then leaving Mercury energy for another provider is your best bet. No one will want to buy a floundering power company thats running at a loss. The people of New Zealand can over rule John Key and the National Party on this matter. Take a stand, switch Mercury energy off.
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