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Court rejects Maori water rights challenge

Every ground of the Maori water rights challenge to the government plan to sell down shares in Mighty River Power have been thrown out by the High Court.

In a lengthy and detailed judgment just released, Justice Ron Young has rejected every argument put up by Maori interests in relation to water rights.

As earlier indicated, this means the Maori argument is expected to bypass the Court of Appeal and continue to the Supreme Court.

Justice Young says he is satisfied the Crown’s commencement decision, amendment to the constitution of the Mighty River Power decision and the sale of Mighty River shares were not reviewable.

He has also found there are no grounds to review the government’s moves to transfer all four state-owned enterprises, including Mighty River Power, from an SOE to a mixed ownership model.

Justice Young says there is also no breach of the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act 2010 and the sale of shares is not a sale which requires the Crown to engage with Waikato-Tainui.

“I do not consider that the Crown was obliged to allow the Waitangi Tribunal process to be finished.”

Justice Young has left the door open to the Crown to seek costs, by filing a memorandum in the next 21 days.

However, he earlier acknowledged this decision would unlikely be the final word and said he expected an appeal. In a statement, the Maori Council set it was woring on an appeal.

Shares in Mighty River Power are expected to be sold first, with the government aiming for a March-June 2013 timeframe.

RAW DATA: High Court Judgment - The Maori Council v The Attorney-General (PDF)


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Comments and questions

Good job.

And take all costs for the wasted time and legal fees out of any future settlements. Maybe then they will get the message they are irrelevant and do not run the country.

I hope the Crown files for costs. This has been a complete waste of taxpayers' time and money. It will be interesting to see if they apply for legal aid for this legal challenge.

Anything and everything Maori do in relation to any matter arising from the TOW is gratis the taxpayer.

Since this pack of scroungers is entirely taxpayer funded what is the point of awarding costs? No prize for guessing who will finish up paying them.

Meanwhile the Crown spends $500K getting a report on David Bain that Justice Minister Collins disagrees with. More tax payer money wasted.

Time for Maori to move into the 21st century and leave the Dream Time behind. The energy sytem was build by the goverment to power the nation using water that falls from the sky.

It was actually 20th century technology that built those dams - but the fundamentals and patents behind the turbines that utilise that energy was developed by Faraday and others in the 19th century (not by you or NZers). Moreover, the great Maori explorers of the pacific were discovering the resource that catches and funnels the energy that drives them in the 12th century.

Exploring and discovering the scientific world is no different than exploring and discovering the actual world. Both discoveries need each other to work and we need to understand and appreciate that for our society to work!

And without WINZ, petrol, cars, planes, medicine and telecommunications this lot would have been history years ago. People for thousands of years have collected water and sailed boats. Don't bloat their stories into something they are not.

Truth of the matter is that, before colonisation, Maori were in the stone age - quite literally. (No metallurgy, whatsoever) In the early-mid 19th century, Maori were carving wood with stone tools, were illiterate, and were lucky to live to age 40. Had they even invented the wheel or the number zero? I don’t buy revisionist arguments that they were somehow much more developed culturally than we are able to appreciate, and as such they’re entitled to various resources that 1st world science has made valuable.

Russel Norman others in the anti-asset sale brigade who have hung their hat on this case and claimed that the government was violating the treaty looking pretty stupid now. Total waste of time and money in an attempt to extort the government. Justice Young doesn't seem to have treated it as a particularly difficult case.

Great comments 1&2......

Finally some common sense prevails. I agree with the above comment. The Maori council must pay the court costs.

Govt past and present have cheated Maori out of their rights of ownership, all becoz of money and greed. The govt have realised they did Maori injustice in the past, n have been rectifying that, as you see on TV. Maori are gracious, respectful, have manners and they still have to fight for their rights, as the govt ain't, n neva have or never will, just give back or return Maori rights back2 Maori. They want to control the Maori, but Maori have a voice and are speaking up, loud n proud, n rightfully so2.

You seem to be ignoring the billion-plus dollars paid out to iwi. Ask Ngai Tahu on their third final settlement and they still have their hand out. Not to mention the enourmous cost associated with "the gravy train", aka the Treaty of Waitangi tribunal.
Next time you comment try and type full English words - it's what grown-ups do.

Which planet do you live on? I would think with the millions that have been paid out so far to Maori, some improvement might have been seen in south Auckland: child poverty, child bashing, domestic violence, less Maori in prison, more education in self-sufficiency. They seem to have this amazing sense of entitlement, but they don't want to give anything back for the better of the country. Grab, grab, grab. We have all suffered injustices in the past, as my family did in Ireland. Get over it and stop this contstant whingeing. This country will remain stagnant to deal with as long as we have this hanging over our heads.

This decision doesnt get close to answering the question about who owns the water though...

Good point.

I collected a bucket or two from the tornado the other day. Who pays for the tornado damage? Who do I owe for the water? And, does either mean I get a refund from the ETS. Clearly, no warming going on.

Thank you, David Lange, for your legacy left to all New Zealanders. It is right up there with what Sue Bradford left behind.

You forgot to thank John Key for signing the UN Indigenous Rights Declaration (Helen Clark refused to) and in doing so he has opened up a plethora of treaty claims and has well and truly lit the fuse to the gimme, gimme greed we are seeing from Maori tribes.

Now we're all having to foot the bill for National's foolish coalition deal.
Thanks for nothing John.

Where is it that Maori politics doesn't involve "gimme, gimme"?

IWI = I Want It

Once again the Maori elite waste taxpayers' money claiming that they own water. What a load of bullsh*t.

I trust Maori more with the water than any government. Just look at the irrigation water taken out down in the South Island. Surely that is privatising water!

Do you want farmers to charge you for their water catchments that you depend on as well as the aquifers that run through their land and deliver it to you?

If Contact Energy Limited could be 100% sold, selling 49% of these 4 companies will be a piece of cake, any further appeals will be a waste of monies.....get real and move on.

The majority of people commenting here need to go away and genuinely attempt to learn about the history of New Zealand to understand what is going on here. But I guess ignorance is bliss.

No, arrogance is bliss: the assumption you know more history than others and that your bloodline is worth special privileges over the rest of the world irrespective of your contribution to your community.

The true history has been changed by a select few to suit Maori. Read wishart's book The Great Divide. They were savages who cannabalised the Moriori. Let's be honest here. If it had not been for colonisation, we would be just another Pacific island in the same state as Tonga, Fiji and the others. Nz would never had progressed at all. Why do the people of these islands want to live here. Because of all the opportunuties to achieve, the standard of living, etc. All brought about by colonisation. Any civilization that has tribal sectors will never agree and will continue to fight among themselves, achieving nothing.

What parts of NZ history are you broadly referring to? The Musket Wars? The NZ Land Wars? If you had a balanced understanding of history you would know there is no 'black and white' scenario available. Or are you cherry-picking the bits that support your world view?

I assume an appeal will be in the hope that there will be a judge, or judges, of more left-wing views who will offer a different view from Justice Young. It often surprises me that different judges can come to opposing views when faced with exactly the same information.

Don't have to look further than Maori TV.

There is a 100% state-funded dedicated Maori channel but state-funded TVNZ still persists in Maori programmes as well.

It's called double dipping and it's only in NZ that this is tolerated.

So just get used to it, New Zealanders - that's just the way your society has evolved.

... and so is condescension...

Are you saying that condescension is bliss? That just doesn't make sense.

No, I think he means condensation.

Or just dense?

Well done, justice Young! It's really time for the black and white show to grind to a halt. Successive governments have pandered to the brown brigade without any mandate other than by buying votes.

We can only go forward as one nation on a united front. The handouts must stop. When is enough enough?

Abolish the Waitangi Tribunal. It is totally biased.

Taxpayers are footing the bills left and right for this fiasco.

When will the majority of Kiwis get off their asses and go out and demonstrate in public that we had enough of these types of parasitic behaviour. Here we have a group of people who are constantly looking for a way to get any form of additional free rides they can conceive, no matter how ridiculous it seems. They don't realise how many free rides they already have.

Time to stop the free rides and rid NZ of freeloaders.

Oh well, yawn, yawn; what's next?????????