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Govt to offer 65 iwi power company shares

BUSINESSDESK: The government will offer shares in partially privatised power companies as part of outstanding Treaty of Waitangi settlements with 65 iwi yet to cut a deal, Finance Minister Bill English and Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson have announced.

The surprise move comes just two days after the government shot down the "shares plus" option proposed by the Waitangi Tribunal as a way to deal with Maori claims to rights and interests in freshwater, which the government says is owned by no one.

The issue has been a stumbling block to the government's Mixed Ownership Model plan to sell minority stakes in up to five state-owned energy companies and the national airline.

Iwi which have not settled can choose to take a portion of their package in shares, Messrs English and Finlayson say.

Treasury estimates show that if all iwi take up the offer, shares worth about $145 million could be distributed over the course of the entire partial privatisation programme.

"We anticipate the take-up being less than the possible maximum, and it is also unlikely that all iwi will choose to invest their total allocation in a single company," Mr English says.

"It simply allows iwi more flexibility about how their settlement money is invested and we believe it will enhance the share offer programme."

The announcement comes days after Prime Minister John Key quashed hopes among some iwi the government would subscribe to a "shares plus" proposal that would grant stock in the power companies to iwi in compensation for ceded water rights.

The government argues it can address Maori claims by other means but will not cede public ownership of the waterways. Tainui tribal authority official Parekawhia McLean resigned from Mighty River Power's board last week, reflecting Tainui's high-profile advocacy for the "shares plus" concept.

The level of scrip offered to Treaty claimants would be dependent on each situation, with a 5% cap for iwi not local to any of the power companies' assets, a 10% limit on those considered local to a power company and a 12.5% maximum for iwi local to a firm which had reached an agreement in principle and a quantum amount.

Shares issued as part of a Treaty settlement won't be eligible for the government's proposed loyalty bonus to attract retail investors to the floats.

Mighty River Power will be sold in the second quarter next year, followed by Genesis Energy and Meridian Energy in the following 12 months, subject to market conditions, the ministers say.

Comments and questions

This is again a weak response from the National party. When is the Treaty gravy train going to stop!

Key and English have lost the plot!

It's actually quite an elegant solution. It's funds that would be paid out for treaty settlements anyway, they're just being offered shares instead of cash. Not too bad.

Eh? We've already got one price distortion ($2000 share parcels being guaranteed to small NZ investors at the expense of larger institution investors).

Now we've got shares being reserved for iwi too - and paid for by the govt (from Treaty settlement money, but still taxpayer funded).

It's become all about selling the share sale politically. Getting the best price for the taxpayer, and reducing debt, has been lost as an aim.

So the TOW is triple dipping now,love to be in an iwi that can "actually" collect on that.Who needs the Reserve Bank to print money,the TOW have their own ATM with National it looks like.Ching,ching.

You've got it in one....elegant solution....and not a handout beyond the Waitangi grab.

I always believed that there was o-no mailbox big enough for the fiscal envelope.

Can you buy into an iwi,like a maori passport,because these bro's could be on the pigs back.I would love a piece of that action.

Just stop the sales of SOEs and call a halt to all this nonsense.

Just how much longer can this govt. suck up to Maori, before gagging?


What a can of worms was opened up with treaty settlements. When will it end and New Zealand can move on. The answer may be never.

the word I would use is "pragmatic"

New Zealand could learn a lot from Austalia, and recognise that wrongs were done and say sorry, without selling the countries assets creating a futher wrong to all tax payers.

No matter what you think re SOE sales and this solution I am truly baffled that anyone would ever write the words "New Zealand could learn a lot from Australia" in respect of managing indigenous rights!!??!?

Australia didn't have a treaty with Aboriginal!
I think the term is Genocide.
But is never works!

There is no doubt a certain section of the settler population wanted genocide, you only have to read some of the nineteenth century newspapers to see that. Land speculators (the equivalent of today's stock marketeers) wanting to make a quick buck from confiscated Maori land were also well known for their genocidal views. (I wonder if this comment will be posted?)

@ #7 yes lets emulate one of the most racist countries on earth (this forum already is).... The treaty process is far from perfect but it beats the alternatives that the Australians have so elegantly demonstrated over the years

The net r3esult of theasset saqles will be a price hike in the cost of power.
The biggest increase will be felt by Domestic and small commercial consumers. Why because the have little or no leverage and will accept what happens.
Giving shares to IWI`s will only increase the anti Maori feellng in the rest of the community.
This will bo no good for the Nation

No treaty should last forever.

The iwi responsible for frivilous treaty claims need to be sued to help put an end to the dispicable and divisive practise which hold New Zealand as a nation back, making it linger in its ancient past.

Sweet as bro

hey cheers fullas. Now about that air your breathing...

Hah! Turns out you can "like" and "dislike", all to one comment! Rather pointless, but felt the need to express both sentiments...

"your"..?? Go back to school.

I'm White and disappointed..

The Treaty was an agreement between two peoples.
The fact is it wasn't adhered to in the manner it was sold at the time it was created.
Then it got found many years later and the nation realised what it was and what it meant.
Maori had their lands taken and expected to deal with it.
And here we are trying to deal with the situation that the Crown instigated all those years ago.

Why is NZ here, Because Maori had a treaty. A treaty that was legally binding, but not adhered too.
Australia didn't have a treaty with Aborigines. They just made an effort to wipe them out.

Maori are only looking at getting a small fraction of what was TAKEN from them.

I'm a Caucasian New Zelander, and I think I understand the anguish Maori have experienced over the decades.

You've obviously one of the mass who've been brainwashed by liberal idealists since the 80's.. Most white New Zealanders never benefited from the colonists. All Maori are also part eurpoean. Maori need to realise they have the same opportunity as everyone else in NZ and they should take responsibility for themseleves; when will they stop blaming their individual failings on the settlement of NZ 200 years ago... and let NZ move on and grow.

I believe most agree that making a settlement to right wrongs is fair and just. however it needs to be finite. National seem to have lost sight of the commitment to put a date beyond which claims must cease.

My other issue is we are constantly told Maori are a special case and cant look after themselves. Yet there is now a significant number of Maori living in Australia where they receive no different treatment yet seem to cope ok. The Government must be firmer with Maori and make them understand that they need to take responsibility for their own people and that the gravy train is now to end.

Just because the Crown settles claims doesn't mean it wont breach the treaty again...again. If the Crown stops breaching perhaps Maori will stop claiming, after all the present water issue came about because of the government's asset sale programme. This is not only ripping Maori off its ripping the poor off too. I agree that Maori are doing better in Australia, that's because Maori are not at the bottom of the heap there, Aboriginals are.

A recent study from the USA has shown that conservatives have on average a lower IQ than liberals. I personally think IQ is a poor indicator of intelligence and tests are ultimately culturally defined. But anyway.

People forget that The Treaty offered Maori equality with Europeans. If you read history books, ordinary Victorians weren't treated very well at all at the time The Treaty was signed.

NZ is comparing how Maori were treated 150 years ago with the way Europeans live today, but that's not a reasonable comparison.

Forget about the deal with Maori, its a red-herring. What has been truly revealed is that National will sell these assets at any cost. Why?, because they do not serve the citizens of New Zealand. They serve the money men. The ones who stand to profit from the deal. Their ONLY motivation is that financial interests gain control. Then let the price fixing begin...

Well John it is the end of the road for the Nats - where is your backbone man. You are once again not reading the mood of the country on this matter which is saying enough is enough is enough.

I don't understand many of the comments above.
This move is just cunning politics. It does not cost the Government any money , Maori "save face" and the Govt. potentially gets more support for it's partial assets sales.

Who said the National Bank was dead.

Instead of continually criticizing this National government, stop and reflect upon who put into legislation the Treaty Trough.
The TOW trough is a prime example of once bad legislation is enshrined in statute, it is almost impossible to remove, and political suicide in the era of MMP.
You can thank the Labour governments of Kirk and Lange for this situation. Good money continually being poured after bad, and nothing to show for it except more hands and arms in the trough.

Preferential share sales according to racial profiles. Hitler would be pleased.

Apartheid is alive and well in New Zealand and commerce is mandated according to race. I wonder how history will judge John Key for I consider him a hypocrite already.

Could you please point me in the direction of areas designated 'whites only', 'coloureds only', 'blacks only'. That's apartheid isn't it?

A little bit of steel in the administration's backbone would not go amiss

The sooner Mr Ansell gets his party up and running the better. I am angry and dismayed that Maori have been handed assets worked for by generations of hard working New Zealanders. The Treaty must go.

New Zealand has become a joke. I'm moving to Australia where they don't punish the Aussie battler for the settlement of their country 200 years ago by the British which had absolutely nothing to do with them.

Whats that got to do with selling our assets, feel free to leave at anytime

Skilled NZers are leaving NZ in unprecedented numbers in part because of this kind of racial rubbish. Soon we will only have uneducated Maori, old people and asian immigrants left to do all the work, except the Maori will say "hey you stole my land 200 years ago so I wont work because I'm a victim for ever".

Rubbish, people have always left New Zealand its a consequence of our isolation. Loads of research has been done on this, but I don't actually think many people here are interested in research.

If shares are given as an alternative to land or buildings in a settlement then in principle to me that is a good idea. My fear and what would annoy me considerably if giving shares happened when setllements have already been concluded. I am totally against Maori being able to go back and ask for more after having already agreed a setllement. It is like me going to someone I sold a house I previously owned and saying hey you paid me say $500,000 for this house and it now has a value of $1,000.000. Please pay me the difference.

Whenever the name Finlayson appears I get nervous. He is a very compromised individual. How can he 'work' for an iwi driving claims against the Crown and then become the Crowns chief negotiator...HELLO!!

John Key stated "no-one owns the water"...No-one.. Now I read of this 'deal' where the Crown will "grant stock in the power companies to iwi in compensation for ceded water rights..."

Hang on, Maori / iwi / who-ever don't have any water rights according to the Prime Minister (and the majority of Kiwis)...

Key, you are being 'played like a trout'...wake up, you surely cannot be that naive??

Come on key, English and the Nationa;l Party (I don't include Finlayson purely because of his clear bias and untenable position.)
Grow some 'balls' and stick to your convictions ...and consider the rest of us Kiwis. or aren't we actually Kiwis??? are we only visitors in our own land?

John Key, if you don't begin protecting the country from these 'rorts' National will never get my vote again and I have heard that repeated from all the business comunity that I associate with. You are playing an exremely stupid political which you will not prepared for a major defeat come next election.

just re-read the article and find it incedible that Tainui (how many full and final payouts?? the last being in the 1990s) is a part of this share for ceded water rights discussion. Another opportunity by Tainui to rort the ordinary Kiwi.

Tainui and all the other iwi that have recieved their compensation...RACK OFF!.... you've had your share...

But no, our democratically elected government (of- the-people; by-the-people; FOR -THE-PEOPLE) will again roll over and allow Ngai Tahu, Tainui, Ngati Porou and the rest of the 'paid-up' tribes to participate.

That being the case, I will expect to receive a share parcel because I'm going to whine and whinge like a spoilt brat....isn't that what we are all seeing right now!!

What was the context of those settlements? Were they equitable at the time? Were they a take it or leave scenario? Were those settlements simply another treaty breach?

By the way who wrote the article you are referring to? Was it John Robinson, Stewart Scott, or David Round, or was it some other intellectual giant like John Ansell?

In case any of you hadn't noticed it's the Government making this offer, the Maoris aren't making it to themselves, so why are you all dumping on the Maoris? you're looking for any excuse to bash them and there is a word for that. I'm no fan of the Brown aristocracy feeding off the treaty gravy train but don't self delude, it's your boys making the offer. It's just plain wrong to be selling the power assets in the first place... Key has opened a can of worms, can't you see!

Agree fully Paul N. 6 months ago I was amazed to see Donkey's arrogance against the clear and spoken will of the people not to sell assets (Peter Dunne was - at best - ambiguous about his stand on it throughout is 2011 campaign).

Now, I'm finding grounds for optimism: that fundamental lack of mandate is seriously slowing Donkey down. Harder than it looks, running a country (and even quite hard to run it into the ground against its own will).

While it's plainly idiotic to blame the Maoris (again) for the government's bungling incapability, it's also true that the Maoris should do all they can to prevent the sales, or failing that, distort the market, or failing that, get their hands on as much as they can.

Native, read the article we are all referring to above...I know it is fantastic that you are an avid reader of history, but don't let your sense of 'self importance' blind you to a simple referal to the article above.

You question the context of the settlements; Quite simply, because in pre-Pakeha days there was no rule of law. There was no land ownership, there was merely a right to occupy, until the next tribe wanted to occupy your space, fought and killed you and then ate you.

The entire grievance industry is flawed.

The only difference is that the agressors paid for most of the land with muskets and blankets, so there was a willing seller and a willing buyer...nice and tidy.

Just be thankful the English were not into cannibalism and such primitive practices. The Maori would have ended up just like the Morioris.....Remember, the indigenous culture...pre-Maori. It is strange you and your 'academic' (used loosely) buddies seem to have a mental block at the mere mention of indigenous Moriori. Everything from that point onward is BS. Maori are not indigenous to NZ, so get over it and get a life...a life which looks forward instead of whinging about perceived and rehashed versions of, at best dubious events which happened 170 years ago.

Just because Tainui advocated 'share plus' does not mean they were after a second bite, it simply means they supported the recommendation from the tribunal as a way forward. The article made no mention of past claims, that was you, the article did not mention Ngai Tahu, that was you, nor did it mention Ngati Porou, that was you. In fact one could be mistaken for thinking that you were talking about completely different article. While we are here could you please provide a reference for you assertion that the land was brought for muskets and guns. Could you also provide a reference for you assertion that there was no law before pakeha arrived. Lastly, show me where it says nz was occupied by another race of people before Maori. No websites please.

Typical racist unconcious incompetence. How did maori survive without the noble pakeha? Moriori were early arriving maori. Pakeha stole land. Dont let the facts get in the way of your dillusions.

Typical racist unconcious incompetence. How did maori survive without the noble pakeha? Moriori were early arriving maori. Pakeha stole land. Dont let the facts get in the way of your dillusions.