November 12, 2012
Ngāi Tahu rejects court water bid
South Island iwi Ngāi Tahu has weighed in behind the National Government against the New Zealand Maori Council's challenge to the sale of shares in state owned power companies.
The council and Waikato River iwi will be in the High Court at the end of the month arguing that the Crown can't sell shares in Mighty River Power until Maori rights and interests in water are defined and accounted for.
In an affidavit to the court, Te Runanga ō Ngāi Tahu principal adviser Sandra Cook says Ngāi Tahu believes it still has a full range of rights and interests in water guaranteed by the Treaty of Waitangi.
She says those rights weren't affected by the privatisation of Contact Energy in 1999, nor will they be affected by the proposed sales of shares in mixed ownership model companies including Meridian and Genesis, which operate hydro power dams in the South Island.
Ms Cook says what does affect Ngāi Tahu water rights is the Resource Management Act, and it is committed to working through those issues through direct talks with the Crown on its own behalf and through the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group.
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