22 Feb 2012

Maori Party formally urges Treaty role in asset plan

1:15 pm on 22 February 2012

The Maori Party has formally urged the Government to retain Treaty of Waitangi provisions in any new law that paves the way for partial asset sales.

The party has just released its submission on the proposed sale of shares in four state-owned energy companies.

The Government plans to sell up to 49% of energy companies Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power and Solid Energy and reduce the Crown's shareholding in Air New Zealand.

The Maori Party wants Section 9 of the State Owned Enterprises Act, which requires the Crown to act in a manner consistent with Treaty principles, included in any new law.

In its submission it argues the requirement should apply to all shareholdings in the companies - public and private.

That runs contrary to previous statements of Prime Minister John Key who has said only the Crown can be held to Treaty principles not private shareholders.

One alternative is a more specific Treaty clause describing how the Crown will meet its obligations.

The Maori Party says it could support that, as long as Section 9 is also included and additional clauses give Maori better protection.

Submissions on the proposal are closing on Wednesday.