Latest News

Chief Justice’s views give hope to Maori

20130202-130009.jpg

(Adam Bennett, NZ Herald) The sale of power company shares would “inevitably” create barriers to the Government’s ability to provide redress for Maori rights, Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias said yesterday.

Her comments during the Supreme Court hearing of the Maori Council’s final bid to halt the Mighty River Power sale later this year have heartened the council, whose case was comprehensively rejected by Justice Ronald Young in the High Court late last year.

At the heart of the council’s case is the claim that the sale of up to 49 per cent of shares in Mighty River Power and other hydro and geothermal electricity generators will compromise the Government’s ability to compensate for any successful Maori freshwater claims.

In the hearing before Dame Sian, Justice Sir John McGrath, Justice Sir William Young, Justice Robert Chambers and Justice Susan Glazebrook, David Goddard, QC, yesterday detailed the reasoning behind the Crown’s view that the sale of shares would not affect its ability to make redress.

Mr Goddard said the Crown had conducted “extensive consultation” with Maori over the “shares plus” suggestion made by the Waitangi Tribunal which would give Maori shares in the power companies with additional decision-making rights as a possible means of redress.

Neither the Government nor Maori were positive about that suggestion and it was abandoned, but the consultation also sought alternative suggestions.

Mr Goddard said the council had failed to identify an alternative which showed “all forms of rights recognition and redress which are meaningful which respond to the claims made remain on the table and are not materially affected as to the availability or likelihood by the proposed partial share sales”.

But Dame Sian herself had raised possible alternatives during the hearing. She said the court was “interested in practical steps that could be taken” to protect future settlements “because that may reflect on whether the Crown is actually in conformity” with provisions in the State Owned Enterprises Act and the new Mixed Ownership Model Act that set out the Government’s Treaty obligations.

She observed that many Waitangi water claims had been around for a long time without resolution “and while issues such as ownership or proprietary interests are parked, more and more interests affecting third parties arise which must inevitably provide an impediment to direct response”.

Colin Carruthers, QC, for the Maori Council said that the Crown would face “an obvious and significant impairment” in any attempt to involve Maori in the exploitation of the rivers following the sale of shares to “thousands of mums and dads”.

Maori Council lawyer Donna Hall said the court appeared to be more willing to listen to the council’s arguments with an open mind than the High Court’s Justice Young had been.

She said the proposition that the sale of shares to private investors would affect the Crown’s ability to provide redress was “a matter of practical reality”.

The Government hopes to receive the court’s decision before February 18 in order to meet its timetable to sell Mighty River shares before June.

Latest Tweets

  • DigitalMaori@dairycocky No it's not. Pakeha rich list, Pakeha only prime ministers. Who has all the power? Not us. Crying now cos u have to share. Lol. about 10 hours ago
  • DigitalMaori@dairycocky & if you're asking me personally, hell yea! If we can't eliminate poverty & racism, I'm totally for proMaori policies about 11 hours ago
  • DigitalMaori@dairycocky race based? Read some history then get back to me. about 11 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @kaupapamaori: In every community there are leaders who are willing to take on the challenge. We need to find & resource those people. L… about 11 hours ago
  • DigitalMaori@dairycocky anyway I can hear of your your cows going mad out back. Must've heard about novapay. Better go check #mooove about 11 hours ago
  • DigitalMaori@dairycocky @Olivefarmer yea any party. The night before he gave Annette the biggest hug. He's promoting his film &supporting his cousin about 11 hours ago
  • DigitalMaori@Megapope dang. And we were all hoping lol about 11 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @kaupapamaori: Angeline Greensill talking on the Treaty and protecting our environment. http://t.co/jDS9Wmd0aT about 11 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @kaupapamaori: We need to urgently address food sovereignty, climate change and protecting our environment. Angeline Greensill about 11 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @kaupapamaori: "What concerns me is that we win over 34 seats and we don't have enough on the list... Get on the roll and vote" Angeline… about 12 hours ago
  • DigitalMaori@dairycocky @Olivefarmer what you mean this guy? With Annette's Sykes. Oh that's right lol http://t.co/FlzMNIb2lt about 12 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriMaori News: Pu Konohi Art Auction http://t.co/ryDg0tt4aB #maori #indigenous about 15 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriMaori News: Amazing opportunity for Rangatahi wanting to work with Vodafone http://t.co/rfLsrQrq3Y #maori #indigenous about 16 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @kiwinerd: @DigitalMaori i think that article overuses the trope of indigenous nations dying out. about 18 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriMaori News: Mauri Hauora Walk Talk 6 by Olly Ohlson http://t.co/im8LZW3dOr #maori #indigenous about 20 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @patsalwhk: @DigitalMaori you rock @InternetPartyNZ feeling star struck x http://t.co/3lCqHyVlcy about 22 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriMaori News: The M?ori Party dismisses Act Party claims of race-based privilege http://t.co/rH4AVMKeLh #maori #indigenous about 23 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @TovaOBrien: This woman is a woman I've admired from a distance for most of my adult life - Laila Harre on Annette Sykes http://t.co/PAl… about a day ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @Sub_Strata: @DigitalMaori looks like @InternetMana landslide victory in the Most Fun Campaign category about a day ago
  • DigitalMaoriQ&A How do you tax the rich? @KimDotcom Build knowledge here, value youth, increase jobs. Transactional tax. Inheritance tax #ManaInternet about a day ago