Key singing to the taniwha's tune: Hide
Former ACT leader Rodney hide has slammed the Mighty River Power IPO delay for iwi consultation on "shares plus".
"The Waitangi Tribunal's reasoning is that because Maori sang songs about the Waikato River and believed taniwha lived there that they are entitled to 'shares plus' in Mighty River," Mr Hide told NBR ONLINE today.
"It's total bollocks. Maori had no ownership of water in 1840. They have none now."
The "shares plus" concept pushed by the Maori Council and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples would give Maori special power company shares with governance rights beyond those of other shareholders.
Prime Minister John Key says he rejects shares plus, put has nevertheless delayed the asset sales programme – originally set to start this month – until at least March next year to allow for consultation with iwi over the ownership concept.
Mr Hide says the Treaty makes no mention of prorietary rights over rivers.
"The Treaty is silent on water," he says.
The Waitangi Tribunal had considered the Maori Council claim to water regardless.
"For Maori 'property rights' to be upheld they create the fiction that Maori own water. Clearly, they don’t."
So what should the prime minister have done yesterday?
"Sooner or later a government has to confront the tribunal and the Treaty industry head on," Mr Hide told NBR.
"Sooner is always best."