16 Oct 2012

Maori Council, iwi eye lawsuit on asset sales

7:42 pm on 16 October 2012

Maori Council executives say there's emphatic agreement among many iwi and hapu to mount legal action over the Government's decision to press ahead with the partial sale of state assets.

Multiple conference calls were held during Tuesday between the council, representatives of the Maori King and various tribes, but the council says it still has to talk to more iwi and needs to work out how it would pay for legal action.

The Mana Party says the Crown's decision to go ahead with the partial sale of the first hydro-electric power generator will turn the whole of Maoridom against the Government.

The Cabinet has approved the share float in Mighty River Power and has ruled out giving any shares to iwi and hapu - a recommendation put forward by the Waitangi Tribunal.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira says the Government has now made it impossible to keep freshwater rights out of the courts.

He thinks Maoridom right across the board is now going to be standing against the Government.

Mr Harawira says iwi, tribal leaders, the Maori Council and the Mana Party are lining up against Prime Minister John Key's administration.

He says it looks like the only Maori that will be with the Government is the Maori Party - which is unfortunate.

But the Maori Party says it does not back the Government on asset sales, though it will maintain its support agreement with the National Party.

Co-leader Tariana Turia says the Government's recent round of consultation hui on shares was carried out in bad faith.

Mrs Turia says her party said there was a pre-determined outcome, and it questioned why Finance Minister Bill English bothered to go out and consult.