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Protests grow at asset sale hui

Published: 6:30AM Thursday February 09, 2012 Source: ONE News

Protests are getting louder as the Government tries to sell law changes linked to the sale of state-owned assets.

Police and Maori wardens were called in to stop demonstrators gatecrashing the third hui in Wanganui on law changes connected to the asset sales today.

Meetings between the Government and Maori are taking place across the country over the next two weeks.

There was a larger police presence in Wanganui than at yesterday's hui in Rotorua and Hamilton.

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English arrived to the taunts of protesters who were intent on getting into the meeting, sparking a clash between the protesters and the Maori wardens who were criticised for stopping their own people.

In the end the police had to be called in to stop the protesters.

People at the meeting say the protest action was valid but supported the wardens and police.

Inside English continued to try to answer a wide range of questions from iwi. Maori Party MPs are not attending the hui.

Water rights

The series of hui follow the Maori Council's recent Waitangi Tribunal claim over freshwater rights.

The Maori Council is claiming ownership of the water used in Government-owned hydro power stations inn a bid to stop the sale of New Zealand energy companies.

The council is unhappy about the Government's plans to remove a treaty clause which says Maori must be consulted about the sell off.

English said the Government is listening to objections before deciding whether they will keep, change or remove the clause.

Prime Minister John Key has said no one owns the water, but the debate is more about water management.