Supreme Court to ignore govt deadline on water rights decision

Government hopes of a decision from the Supreme Court by next Monday on the Maori Council's appeal to halt partial privatisation of Mighty River Power will not be met, the council says.

Citing a Minute from the Supreme Court issued yesterday afternoon, one of the council's legal counsel, Donna Hall, said the judgment "will not be delivered by February 18 and that the court anticipates being able to deliver judgment by the end of February".

To keep to its sale timetable, the government fought to have the appeal bypass the Court of Appeal and has told the five-judge panel it wanted a decision by February 18. Last year's High Court hearing and decision were also expedited.

The High Court emphatically rejected the Maori Council's application for judicial review of the Cabinet decision to sell MRP before government policy on Maori claims to freshwater rights were settled.

Ms Hall said she trusted the government "will not be moved to any precipitous action for the sake of another 10 days or so, and looks forward to the decision in due course".

Under the government's ideal timing, an MRP float would go to the book-building, or price-setting stage in early May, for a June listing on the NZX.


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