Govt ready for legal battle on Mighty River Power – Key

The government's legal position is "rock solid" on the sale of shares in Mighty River Power, Prime Minister John Key says.

The government late last week gave the Waitangi Tribunal a very public nudge, calling on it to deliver its report on the first tranche of shares to be sold as part of the flagship "mixed ownership model" policy by August 24.

To do so later would push the sale into next year due to reporting requirements, Mr Key said at his post-cabinet press conference yesterday.

The tribunal yesterday afternoon delivered a very grudging acquiescence, saying it would produce an interim report by the August 24 deadline but would still produce a full report in September.

The tribunal also criticised the government's public pressure as being "inappropriate".

Mr Key batted that aside, saying the government has acted in "tremendous good faith" throughout the process and that some of the claims about the impact of the sale of shares in the company are wrong.

"This is an argument not about whether Maori rights and interests exist but on whether the change in ownership ... alters the ability to have those rights and interests acknowledged.

"We don't think anything is changed because the government owns 51% of the company and not 100%.

"We have … acted in good faith to recognise the rights of interests of Maori… Nothing in the change in ownership will alter those."

The government has acted in "tremendous good faith … we're very confident about our legal position, that we are following the right process."

The government had been aware from the outset that a legal challenge to the sale of the shares, once the tribunal has ruled on the matter, is likely, Mr Key says, but he beleives the legal position is "rock solid".

Some sort of deal on shares is unlikely, he says. 

Maori rights and interests are currently "recorded and acknowledged river by river, iwi by iwi, and for the most part that has not included shares, in the past".

"That does not seem to me to be a logical way to do that, although hypothetically its always possible, I suppose."

Mr Key and other National ministers are meeting Maori Party ministers and iwi leaders tonight to thrash out the issues, although Mr Key says the Maori Party has been opposed to the share float from the start and this is not likely to change. 

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14 Comments & Questions

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I wonder if there might one day be a politician who willing to overnight become a statesman and create by decree a one country and one law for all, who has the spine to call an end to the endless grasping seperatism. I dont think I will see such a person, sad really.

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The minority have certainly set the tone for someone like this to emerge. The majority would have to ignore the press's attempts to destroy someone like this.

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That man was Brash or was it Winstone?

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And who continues to pay for this obscene absurdity? Us, the poor, hard working taxpayer. I've had enough, how about you..??

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This needs to stop.Its really time the govt listens to us.Stop pandering to Maoris only and run New Zealand as a country for all.

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They have not honoured the Treaty any how so the whole thing is void. The treaty clearly says " Maori must obey the laws of the land". They have clearly epic failed in this any there fore have breached the terms of the treaty. No deal.

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Maoris are not indigenous to New Zealand. Thee, I said it. How they can claim ownership of natural elements of our planet I do not know.
They can make up Ll the fairy tales they like, but they are flesh and blood, like the rest of us.

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Show your colours Mr Key - Ignore them and get on with governing the country - we are one country!

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Amazing how the economic future of NZ can be stage managed by a few
people from Caucasion extraction.I am sure i helped give the National Govt my vote and hopefully a mandate to govern, NZ.Cant recall the same consideration to a few people with caucasion extraction,who talk above their status.

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ANON we are not one country, that's the problem, we are a country of greedies who are driving by a blinding ideology and want every single thing for profit and the rest who are slowly going under through jacked up living costs mainly from the corporate Government sector following religiously the high priests of economic dogma like a stuck record which year on year fails to deliver... tell me if it's all so good why are we in the crap at all levels? Yes I can hear 'but we didn't go far enough' remember the cash registers in hospital emergency departments? might have to be some enforced egalitarianism soon to re dress the balance, when you are in a hole you stop digging right? I think you'll find Ben Fouhy has summed it up pretty well the state of the nation in describing his personal circumstances today, this is what we have become and it's heartbreaking quite frankly considering what we are capable of or were when we had a mojo.

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Its no jolly wonder we lag Australian in productivity growth - the Treaty Grievance Industry soaks up so much of our country's productive resources in infighting like a bunch of Kilkenny cats over the reallocation of rights over who gets to control the 'family fortune' that we've no spare resources left to actually make something worthwhile to sell in the world markets and keep the proverbial wolf from the door! Australia has had Mabo, apologised, expunged its collective guilt and is now focused on building a country for the future world. OK they mightn't have the got the social policy mix w.r.t. aborigines right, but they are focused on building a society fit for the future, not one that lives perpetually in a state of Utu.

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Does "one country" mean "one kind of person"? Of course not. Check Germany, 1936.

Does the fact that Maori came to reside in NZ hundreds of years before anyone else give them a fundamental right of involvement in its governance? Of course it does. Just as "we" would expect if another culture decided to call NZ home.

Is Maoritanga the most visible single element of NZ culture in other countries? Everybody knows it is (except those who have not travelled).

Is the mixed ownership model the most deluded, shortsighted and simply incorrect economic plan since Think Big? Sadly, yes.

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Perhaps the only way to stop all of this nonsense is for NZ to declare itself as a Republic. The Treaty of Waitangi will be meaningless then. Instead nz will forever be held for ransome by this made radical lot. The maori race has been so watered down now that perhaps all nzders should make claims?
We can all then get on as one country, one people, and make this a fantastic place to live.
Also in regards to the greenies and others anti mining campaigns. You are the ones driving the continuous wave of kiwis leaving nz to go to aussie to look for work. If you were not so self absorbed with your own importance, you should be all in support of these same workers working in our own mines and earning money here for themselves and nz, and not for australia. Commonsense?? Maybe not for you.

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If becoming a republic would put a stop to the incessant flow of treaty claims then I am all for it.
Britain means less to us now than,eg,Australia and Asia.
Time we stood on our own two feet and stopped clutching the forelock.
The only useful link between Britain and ourselves was the link to the Privy Council and Kommisaar Klark put paid to that!
liberte

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