A flotilla of waka carrying Mana Party leader Hone Harawira floated down the Waikato River yesterday to protest against the Government's sale of Mighty River Power shares.
Harawira travelled with a protest group from Hamilton to Ngaruawahia, to highlight what he called the Government's "economic treason" as well as Maori rights.
"We are opposed to Government's refusal to deal honourably with Maori over Maori rights and interests in fresh water, we are opposed to the sale of New Zealand-owned assets, and we are opposed to the privatisation of electricity which will lead to increased power prices," he said.
"We thought we'd take our case to the very river that Government is trying to sell, in the same week that Mighty River Power shares are traded. It also happens to be the same week that Government presents its budget to the nation."
The protest was organised by the Mana Party. Twelve paddlers in racing outrigger canoes paddled down the river with a support boat. A small crowd of supporters saw them off.
Harawira aimed to send a simple message, by "putting it out on the water".
The protest comes after the Government floated 49 per cent of Mighty River Power, with thousands of Kiwis buying shares.
It is the first of four state assets lined up at the selling block in a bid to raise up to $7 billion to repay debt and build the Government's Future Investment Fund.
Details of the next float are expected to be announced in the Budget on Thursday.