Shares plus consultation round begins

By Kate Shuttleworth

Finance Minister Bill English will attend six hui in ten days. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Finance Minister Bill English will attend six hui in ten days. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The first hui on the shares plus concept raised in the Waitangi Tribunal's interim report will begin tomorrow.

Finance Minister Bill English will attend six hui in ten days and was confident the partial sale of assets could go ahead next year if market conditions allowed.

Iwi and hapu that have a specific connection to the freshwater and geothermal resourses used by the state-owned power companies, Mighty River Power, Meridian and Genesis, will meet the Government.

Mr English said the Government was confident it could go ahead and sell up to 49 per cent of each of the three companies, starting with Might River Power in the first half of next year.

"The Government is confident that in law no one owns water, and is also confident that proceeding with the share offerings will not compromise its ability to recognise those rights and interests that Maori do have in water."

The tribunal said the share offering would affect the Crown's ability to recognise Maori rights, and that is the 'shares plus' concept by which the tribunal suggested there be a special shareholding which would give some Maori shareholders rights above those of other shareholders.

"The Government has already said that such a shareholding would be unattractive, unnecessary and unworkable but now that the matter has been raised we will talk to affected Iwi about it.

"Over the next 10 days I will listen carefully to Iwi, talk through the issues with them and explain the Government's stance," said Mr English.

Iwi directly affected could write to the Government by October 5.

The hui:

- Tuesday 18 September, Tainui waka iwi including Waikato, Hauraki, Ngati Raukawa and Ngati Koroki Kahukura, in Hamilton

- Wednesday 19 September, Ngati Tuwharetoa and Te Arawa, in Taupo

- Wednesday 19 September, Whanganui Iwi, in Whanganui

- Wednesday 26 September, Tainui waka iwi Ngati Maniapoto, in Te Kuiti

- Thursday 27 September Waikaremoana Iwi including Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Ruapani and Ngati Kahungunu ki te Wairoa, in Tuai

- Thursday 27 September, Ngai Tahu, in Christchurch


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