31 Jul 2012

Waitangi Tribunal likely to be ignored, says opposition

11:07 pm on 31 July 2012

Opposition parties suspect the Government will ignore a Waitangi Tribunal directive to put the partial sale of state assets on hold.

The tribunal wants findings from its water rights inquiry, due in September, to be given an in-depth look by the Government before it begins selling shares.

Shares in Mighty River Power, the first of the four state-owned energy companies up for partial sale, are expected to be on the market about September.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira says the interim ruling is what most New Zealanders hoped for and what Prime Minister John Key had least wanted.

Mr Harawira says he is absolutely convinced the Government will ignore the recommendation and continue with the sales regardless.

Labour leader David Shearer says the partial privatisation is a shambles but agrees it is very unlikely Mr Key will abandon it.

The Maori Party was planning to discuss the tribunal's decision at its caucus meeting on Tuesday.

The Waitangi Tribunal's water rights inquiry was launched after the Maori Council filed an urgent claim as a result of the Government's plan to sell up to 49% of shares in Mighty River Power, Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy, and Solid Energy.