September 03, 2012
Water delay a relief for council
The Government’s decision to put off selling shares in Mighty River Power until next year has come as a relief for the New Zealand Maori Council.
The council was preparing to go to court if the Government rejected outright the Waitangi Tribunal’s recommendation that the privatisation be put off until agreement was reached on accommodating Maori interests in water.
Prime Minister John Key says the Government is rejecting the tribunal’s idea of special shares plus for Maori claimants and it also turned down its call for a national hui.
He says Maori water rights will be addressed through the historical claims process iwi by iwi, and the partial sale of Mighty River Power does not impact on the Crown’s ability to recognise those rights.
Maori Council lawyer Donna Hall says there needs to be a national framework for water, rather than the Crown cutting deals with a few lucky iwi.
She says the Maori Council involvement meant many of the smaller hapu claimants had their say.