Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Govt asks Tribunal to fast-track findings

Prime Minister John Key. Photo / Chris Loufte
Prime Minister John Key. Photo / Chris Loufte

The Government has asked the Waitangi Tribunal to speed up the delivery of its findings on a Maori Council claim into water rights, saying that leaving it until September will have a significant impact on the entire asset sales programme.

Finance Minister Bill English said today that he had asked the Tribunal to deliver its findings by August 24, saying it would need to make decisions by the first week of September if it was to proceed with the partial float of Mighty River Power in 2012.

The Government requested deadline would give it little more than a week to consider the recommendations of the Waitangi Tribunal following its urgent hearing into the Maori Council's claim which sought to delay any asset sales until water rights issues were resolved.

This week, the Tribunal issued a direction requesting a delay in the partial float until at least September when it expected to deliver its findings. In its memorandum, it said such a delay should have little or no impact on the timing of the planned float.

However, Mr English said this was incorrect - and delaying beyond the first week of September could mean it lost the chance to make the initial public offer in 2012, and result in a delay to the entire asset sales programme over the next two years.

The Maori Party co-leaders are due to meet with Prime Minister John Key on Monday to discuss the Waitangi Tribunal process. Dr Sharples confirmed today he has called iwi, hapu and the Maori Council to an urgent hui on Monday to discuss it with them prior to his meeting with Mr Key.

- NZ Herald

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