15 Mar 2012

Maori Council prepared to take freshwater claim to top court

7:46 am on 15 March 2012

The Maori Council says it is prepared to take its claim on freshwater rights to the Supreme Court, if the Government rejects it.

The Waitangi Tribunal held a conference on Tuesday into whether its claim on freshwater should be heard under urgency.

The Maori Council claim was filed in February with the backing of 11 hapu groups.

The application is asking the tribunal to uphold the rights of tangata whenua over freshwater resources.

The council wants the Government not to sell any shares in four state-owned energy companies until it has heard a Waitangi Tribunal claim on freshwater.

At Tuesday's conference, the Maori Council says the chief judge gave until Friday for late submissions to be filed, and a decision on an urgent hearing can then be expected within 10 days.

The council says if its claim under an urgent hearing by the Waitangi Tribunal is successful, but is rejected by the Government, it will take its claim to the Court of Appeal and if that fails, the Supreme Court.