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English to front at 'shares plus' hui

The Prime Minister may have pledged not to attend any water rights hui following the asset sales delay, but his Finance Minister will be flying the flag.

Bill English will tomorrow attend the first hui in response to the Government’s commitment to engage with Iwi on the “shares plus” concept raised in the Waitangi Tribunal’s interim report.

On September 4, the government delayed the Mighty River Power IPO - scheduled for the end of that month - until around April next year. The delay followed a Waitangi Tribunal recommendation to halt the partial asset sales programme unti the water rights issue could be resolved. Prime Minister John Key said the delay would allow consultation over the "shares plus" concept, which would see Maori allocated shares with more governance rights than other shareholders. Mr Key said his government opposes shares plus, but wants to work the issue through.

Six hui will be held in the next 10 days with Iwi and hapu that have a specific connection to the freshwater and geothermal resources used by the state-owned power companies, Mighty River Power, Meridian and Genesis.

Subject to these consultations, and to market conditions, the government intends to sell up to 49 percent of each of the three companies, starting with Mighty River Power in the first half of next year.

“The government is confident that in law no-one owns water, and is also confident  that proceeding with the share offerings will not compromise its ability to recognise those rights and interests that Maori do have in water,” Mr English says.

“The Waitangi Tribunal itself agreed that proceeding with the Initial Public Offerings would not prevent appropriate rights recognition, and that there would be many options for recognition and redress after the sale of shares.

“However, on one narrow point  the Tribunal said the share offering would affect the Crown’s ability to recognise Maori rights, and that is the ‘shares plus’ concept by which the Tribunal suggested there be a special shareholding which would give some Maori shareholders rights above those of other shareholders.

“The government  has already said that such a shareholding would be unattractive, unnecessary and unworkable but now that the matter has been raised we will talk to affected Iwi about it.

“Over the next 10 days I will listen carefully to Iwi, talk through the issues with them and explain the government’s stance. We are also inviting those Iwi directly affected by these issues to write to us by Friday October 5.”

Details of the hui are

  • Tuesday 18 September, Tainui waka iwi including Waikato, Hauraki, Ngati Raukawa and Ngati Koroki Kahukura,  in Hamilton
  • Wednesday 19 September, Ngati Tuwharetoa and Te Arawa, in Taupo

  • Wednesday 19 September, Whanganui Iwi, in Whanganui
  • Wednesday 26 September, Tainui waka iwi Ngati Maniapoto, in Te Kuiti

  • Thursday 27 September Waikaremoana Iwi including Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Ruapani and Ngati Kahungunu ki te Wairoa, in Tuai
  • Thursday 27 September, Ngai Tahu, in Christchurch 

Comments and questions
10

This is exactly the kind of opportunity to exhibit publicly eccentric behaviour by officialdom that the Kiwi dollar needs for a little judicious devaluation.

The Minister of Finance needs to declare loudly and unambiguously to the whole world, invite the intl media to a press conference, that the NZ govt. is selling wind to the Maoris for $1.

That will bring the Kiwi dollar sellers out in droves.

Shareholdings based on race - well stuff them.
The coin I had put away for this Mighty River IPO is definately going elsewhere.

You had no coin. Be honest.

Argent Energy Trust a better punt I reckon, read about it and weep. At least when the real indigenous natives in Canada stick their hands out they have to get dna tested.

Democracy Plus!

The govt. should get into the business of manufacturing teats, they are forever sucking up to Maori.

The 'shares' plus concept is of course some nonsense born out of a lack of understanding of the commercial world. When will it be possible for the anthropologists/archaeologists to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Maori did not inhabit God's own when air and water were 'invented?'

Sorry, Maori mythology trumps all.

He might find himself on the hungi menu.

We should give maori whatever they want, because if Maui hadn't have fished up the North Island, NZ would only be half the size of what it is today.