Tribunal came up a concept iwi don't know much about – PM on shares plus
Prime Minister John Key says a five-week consultation period on "shares plus" is needed with iwi "because the tribunal basically came up a concept they didn’t know much about".
Speaking on TV3's Firstline, Mr Key said he was "totally" confident the Mighty River Power partial float would go ahead next year.
"There’s a slight delay because we need to go through this consultation on this very narrow point of 'shares plus' with the related iwi and interest parties."
Yesterday, the PM defined "shares plus", a concept pushed by Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, as:
The idea that certain Maori interests would be given particular rights and powers in relation to the company, above and beyond the rights of other shareholders.
"The government’s looked at it [shares plus] with its economic people and its legal advisers and thoroughly rejected it," Mr Key said this morning.
"But because they [the Waitangi Tribunal] have raised it, because it’s a new point, realistically the most prudent and conservative thing we can do is consult with that very narrow group so that’s what we’ll be doing.
"The process will take about five weeks then we’ll look to move the asset into the Public Finance Act. That will give certainty and clarity to the market and we’ll begin the float in March 2013."
Mr Key said his government had not been obliged to delay the Mighty River Power float – originally scheduled for this month – to allow time for iwi consultation.
"We could choose not to, obviously. That would probably lead to an action in the courts. We still may end up in the courts and that’s a very realistic probability.
"But the point here is that from the government’s point of view we want to give the markets certainty and clarity and the way to do that is to do everything thoroughly and dot every 'i' and cross every 't'."
Mr Key stressed the narrowness of the consultation on shares plus.
"No one owns water. There won’t be a national settlement and we won’t be holding a national hui."