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Stop partial asset sales – Waitangi Tribunal

The government has been advised by the Waitangi Tribunal not to go ahead with partial asset sales until the issue of Maori water rights has been properly reviewed.

State-owned enterprises Minister Tony Ryall says the government will take time to review the decision.

“In the coming days, ministers will receive advice from officials to help them carefully consider the government’s position. We have also undertaken to meet the Maori Party’s co-leaders as we develop our respective positions."

The Maori Council submitted an urgent claim to the Waitangi Tribunal aimed at stopping the sale of Mighty River Power shares later this year until Maori water rights and interests have been defined.

In an interim decision, the Waitangi Tribunal says:

• It has recommended the Crown not go ahead with its proposed partial privatisation of SOEs until the tribunal has at least had a chance to issue its full decision on stage one of this inquiry.
• The stage one decision is due in September this year.
• The September decision will also address the issue of whether a delay in the share sale should be recommended on a slightly longer term basis.
• The tribunal has found the issue of Maori proprietary interests to water resources is a serious issue which needs to be resolved.
• The tribunal further held that a delay until September would not cause significant prejudice to the government’s policy.
• There is no guarantee this decision will be followed by a further recommendation of a delay in September.

Maori Council lawyer Felix Geiringer told NBR ONLINE he is happy with the decision and it is everything he could have hoped for at this stage.

The tribunal says it is an issue of national importance and has been before Maori and the Crown for a considerable time – which is reflected in the previous tribunal reports on freshwater and geothermal issues.

Comments and questions

Felix Geiringer ,last saw and heard from that guy when he laid in front of Bill Birch's car as a scruffy haired protester in the 90s.Seems he has found a gravy train that keeps on giving.A lot more than he got that day.

I would really like to say what I really think about maori and this tribunial and the bludgers it supports but the NBR would remove my comments, freedom of speech doesnt work both ways.

Aw, let your freak flag fly, PH. Surely you've got something of great insight and importance. It would be a lot better to see what exactly you would tell us as opposed to passive-aggressive dog whistles in lieu of forthright discourse.

And for those of us Pakeha who are aggrieved that our common interest in water rights is being overrun by a mercenary elite, I'm glad that the tangata whenua can even pull off a stay. Go read up on water wars in the western US and you might start to understand the implications of proprietary and customary rights to water.

Why would US water rights be remotely relevant to a NZ situation, obviously you are a follower rather than a leader

Just because you didn't hear about it doesn't mean it didn't happen overseas first. New Zealand is about three decades behind (as usual) in adjudication of water rights with respect to native claims and we're about to see a little fast-forward action. As to the relevance, several very large federal water projects in the US during the last century had to be modified and deliveries altered pursuant to the outcome of litigation and treaty settlements. The legal arguments are the same here and both the tribunal and potentially the High Court will look abroad for precedent.

Google "Central Arizona Project" for a little perspective.

Yes lets keep our assets from those that live off the earnings of the share market gravy train.It is only ever going to be a short term gain for a long term loss as the public of NZ pay more and more for power to feather the nests of the wealthy corporate share raiders.

This is a facile, ill informed comment. NZ is stuffed if your attitude prevails. The Government is maintaining a controlling interest in the power compenies. You need to remember two things behind increasing power costs. Firstly, Cullen used the power companies as a proxy for tax by ripping enormous dividends out of them to bolster reckless Labour spending. Secondly, Transpower, which remains 100% Government owned, is ramping up transmission charges to upgrade the National Grid, which Labour neglected while it ripped those enormous dividends out of the power companies.

Go take a hike LH. You and your ilk will see the nation raped by National and its hangers on.

Give it away friend, you cannot educate pork!

Now we're talking

Make no mistake, Iwi are using asset sale protests as a smoke screen while they attempt to steal New Zealanders real asset, water. Its high time the tribunal gravy train was de-railed.

Ignor the tribunal, force the Maori Council to take their claims to a real court of law(the law for all). By the way, there's quite a lot of water flowing down my street at the moment, if its realy yours please come get it. Its making a mess of my front garden.(Where do I send the invoice for damages)

I am all for anything that derails the state sell off of assets. Go you mighty Maori bros!

There is an old saying to' be careful what you wish for'. The problem is that this water claim will not just effect the 3 power companies to be partially privatised but all NZers through our council water rates, electricity prices, costs to farmers etc etc etc.


For arguments sake, let's say Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch or (insert favourite foreign billionaire nemesis here) buys all the 49% of the power companies - are the Maori saying, hang on bro, you fuzzy foreigners are now making money off our water flowing through your 49% owned power companies? We need to clip the ticket. That's a fair question or claim it seems to me BUT not just for Maori. Are the Maoris saying they and only they can clip the ticket? It's a NZ resource. Not just your water Bros. AND then wouldn't the Gov already be clipping the ticket in the form of cap gains tax on those shares? Gov needs to say no, it's not just Maori water and, yes, NZ is clipping the ticket in the form of tax.

Maori in general will not benifit from this at all. The same old elite few Iwi leaders whip their population up into a frenzy to secure more cash and assets for themselves and their families. If they are allowed to get away with this, the average Maori in the street will pay for this in all forms, power, rates, rent and food costs just the same as the rest of us. Its just a damn shame they can't work that out.

got the water lets go for the airr

This worth just to see the regular suspects go nuts

The Maori's can have the water I consume after i've processed it......

when there is a flood who would pay for the damage caused by the water? surely the owners would be liable.

Absolutely, and seeing they reckon they've owned the water this past 200 years that's a darn long claims queue.
Maybe we will have to set up a Water Damage Tribunal to settle past grievances.

Here we go again the TAIL wagging the dog!!
It was pointed out to me the other day, that if the state looses control of 100% of the income, then the benificiarys will suffer and that could be a sizable percentage of the water hopefuls having to take up some sort of employment?? but look out if they fail the drugs test.

Bob Jones' Opinion piece in today's NZ Herald ( makes the (in my view) highly valid point that all this rights bollocks and it supposed roots in the Treaty is well past its use-by date, and ought to be binned.