'Shares plus' gone, asset sales timeline on track
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Prime Minister John Key is refusing to negotiate a "shares plus" arrangement with Maori over the partial sale of Mighty River Power.
The government is also working to remove the company from the State Owned Enterprises Act and is preparing an order-in-council for cabinet to consider and approve next week.
The decisions were made today after negotiations with Maori around the country.
Mr Key says the decisions may lead to legal challenges from the Maori Council and others.
But his intention is still to float the energy company sometime between March and June next year.
The government has spent the past five weeks in consultation with Maori over the "shares plus" concept.
Recommended by the Waitangi Tribunal, it would have essentially allowed certain Maori interests particular right and powers in relation to the power company which were above and beyond the rights of other shareholders.
Mr Key says the series of hui on "shares plus" was part of the government’s commitment to consult with Māori in good faith.
“Following analysis of the oral submissions made at hui, along with the written submissions, the government’s view is that no new information has come to light to change our preliminary view – which is, that the concept of ‘shares plus’ should not be progressed,” he says.
Mr Key says the series of hui came to a number of conclusions:
- Financial redress and input into resource management decisions can be provided in other – and in some cases better – ways.
- Appointing directors and exercising shareholder voting rights can also be achieved in other ways with the Crown, which will remain the controlling shareholder.
- The Crown does not believe providing iwi with special rights in making management decisions will work well and most submitters who considered the idea agreed.
- "Shares plus" would create a potential conflict of interest within and between different iwi groups. And it would potentially weaken existing relationships between iwi groups and the SOEs.