January 30, 2013
Water case challenges parliament’s supremacy
The most important Treaty of Waitangi case in 25 years starts before the Supreme Court today.
The New Zealand Māori Council and Waikato River tribes are challenging the way the Government is dismantling protections for claimants put in place after the council’s 1988 Lands case, so it can sell shares in state owned power companies.
They say privatisation means the Crown will be unable to compensate Māori if they succeed in subsequent water claims.
The Crown says there is no connection between the Treaty of Waitangi and the sale of the shares, and there is also no connection between shares in hydro power generators and water rights.
It says the Government is just doing what Parliament said it could do when it passed the law allowing the companies to be removed from the State Owned Enterprise Act and in New Zealand, Parliament is supreme.
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