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Mighty River sale to face another hurdle

Published: 7:51PM Sunday November 25, 2012 Source: ONE News

The Government's plan to sell off state-owned assets faces another hurdle in court tomorrow as the Crown and the Maori Council come head-to-head.

The partial sale of Mighty River Power is set for March and June next year after the Maori Council forced a delay in the process by challenging the Government over water rights.

"We wanted to be able to talk with the Government about what the problem was, what we saw as some solution and then just go from there," council deputy chair Rahui Katene said.

"But because they wouldn't talk to us, the only other place we had was to go to court."

Prime Minister John Key has kept a firm stance on the matter, saying the Maori Council had no rights to the water.

Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove said the delaying of the sale had been embarrassing.

"[The Government] completely stuffed up the asset sales process.

"There is one rule when you float a company, partially or wholly - you get everything tied down, you get all the certainties sorted out."

The trial is set down for four days at the High Court in Wellington, and is set to cost the Maori Council $400,000 in legal fees.

Katene said the council was confident it had enough money to see the case through.

"We do have that amount and we do have promises for more, so we're confident we've got enough to take the whole case through.

The deputy chair said she hoped the case would not be taken further to the Supreme Court.