Government huddles as tribunal urges asset sales delay

BUSINESSDESK: Government ministers will take several days to respond to a Waitangi Tribunal report that could push its partial privatisation programme past Christmas.

The tribunal issued an interim direction today, saying the government should wait for its stage one report on Maori claims to rights and interests in water and geothermal assets, due in September.

It acknowledges it should not delay major government policy initiatives unduly, but that the imminence of its report may mean "the Crown's proposed share float may not be delayed at all (or might only be subject to a minimal delay)," its 13-page judgment says.

"The inconvenience to the Crown of a prolonged delay to the proposed share sales would clearly exist," said the tribunal, which characterised the New Zealand Maori Council's application to the tribunal as having similar impact to an interim injunction granted by a court.

However, there was a serious issue of substance raised by the council claim.

The judgment draws on evidence from the deputy secretary to the Treasury, John Crawford, acknowledging it was expecting publication of the first of its two reports on water claims by around September and that it could not delay the share sale beyond the first week of December, if it was to happen this year.

The government is proposing to sell 49% of the electricity generator and retailer Mighty River Power and has wanted that to occur in the third quarter of this year, market conditions permitting.

State-Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall said the government is examining the tribunal's direction and would seek meetings with its coalition partner, the Maori Party, "as we develop our respective positions".

"In the meantime, Ministers are not in a position to comment," he said.

The tribunal's ultimate conclusion was that "the Crown ought not to commence the sale of shares in many of the Mixed Ownership Model companies until we have had the opportunity to complete our report on stage one of this inquiry and the Crown has had the opportunity to give this report, and any recommendations it contains, in-depth and considered examination".

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9 Comments & Questions

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Okay, now let us first decide who is is governing NZ!
The Waitangi Tribunal or Parliament?


I'd rather have The Waitangi Tribunal thanks.


If the Maori Council ends up in court over this issue are we as tax payers expected to fund their court costs?


Who do you expect to pay? Look long term rather than next week.
Mate I resent every one of my hard earned dollars going into the pay packets of this government.

Makes me sick to even think about it.


Got news for you Alex me old mate!
You are funding them now!


Isn't it time the Waitangi Tribunal is disbanded and that whole ghastly parade of grievance-industry legal-eagles taken off the tax-payer teat?

How much more of this divisive squandering of resources for nebulously defined past wrongs can this nation take?


National is doing just that Anonymous divisively squandering our resources.


Is anyone really surprised by the Waitangi Tribunal decision given its makeup?


Had it not been for the pivotal vote of DODGY John Banks - the Mixed Ownership Model Bill would not have passed 61 - 60.

How on earth is DODGY John Banks 'fit for duty'?

How on earth can it be lawful for John Banks to be able to sign a candidate's return of expenses without having first checked it?

How come John Banks was never charged for signing Huljich Kiwisaver Scheme registered prospectuses dated 22 August 2008 and 18 September 2009 which contained untrue statements?

How come the signature of the Minister of Regulatory Reform is so meaningless - in New Zealand - the country 'perceived' to be the 'least corrupt' in the world???

Penny Bright
'Anti-corruption campaigner'


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