18 Oct 2012

Iwi offered shares upfront, ahead of Treaty settlement

8:30 pm on 18 October 2012

About 65 iwi are to be offered the chance to take shares in state-owned enterprises.

The stakes will be available to tribes that have not yet settled their Treaty claims.

The Government says the scheme allows iwi more flexibility about how their settlement money is invested.

They would be able to get the shares upfront - ahead of their final Treaty resolution with the Crown.

Tribes would be eligible to obtain between 5% and 12.5% of their settlement package.

The Government estimates that if all iwi take up the offer, tribes would only control less than 5% of the shares of Mighty River Power - the first asset to be partially sold next year.

Shares are also due to be offered in Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand.

A good option - iwi leaders

The Iwi Leaders Group is pleased that tribes have a choice to take up the shares, saying the Government has done the right thing.

The chair of the collective, Mark Solomon, says at the end of the day it will be entirely up to each iwi - but the option is there to take the stakes.

He says it's very important to secure assets ahead of Treaty settlement, because reaching a final resolution with the Crown can take years.

Mr Solomon maintains that the Iwi Leaders Group has attempted to keep the water rights issue and share sales separate.

Ruapehu iwi holds back

A Ruapehu iwi says it will hold back on the Government's offer until the proprietary water rights issue has been resolved.

However Ngati Rangi Treaty negotiator Che Wilson says his iwi can see the benefits of the offer, especially because it will help speed up negotiations with the Crown.

He says if an iwi does agree to upfront shares, the hope is that it will hasten their Treaty negotiations.

Mr Wilson says evidence has shown in the past that when iwi do take up offers, their settlements have been resolved faster than those who have rejected such propositions.