It looks like there will be a national hui over water rights and
state asset sales, whether the Government wants it or not.
Prime Minister John Key said yesterday that the partial sale of Mighty River Power will be postponed until March.
Key has ruled out a national meeting over water rights, but
Maori leaders who spoke to ONE News say they will organise one, and
the Maori King will help.
When it comes to water rights, Maori have not always seen eye to eye, the Maori Council taking its water fight to the Watiangi Tribunal, while iwi leaders opted for talks at the Beehive.
"We seem to be been shooting at each other. It's not good that we've been used against each other in public," said Ngahiwi Tomoana, Ngati Kahungunu chair.
However, with the asset sale delay now secured and a five-week Government consultation process looming, Maori leaders want unity.
"This is a magnificent opportunity for our people to talk about how we can move this debate over water forward," said Tuku Morgan of Tainui.
The Maori King is now offering an open invitation to Maori at attend a national hui at the Turangawaiwai Marae next Thursday.
The Maori Council agrees it is important that all Maori sit down to talk.
"You need to be looking at a national framework and all Maori because all Maori have some sort of proprietary right or interest in waterways," said Rahui Katene Maori Council, deputy chair.
The Government will not negotiate a "national" settlement on water rights, instead preferring to do deals iwi by iwi.
Maori leaders TVNZ has spoken to don't mind that. However, they say it is vital that there is a national hui so that iwi who do negotiate with the Government do so with a common understanding of Maori water rights.
Meanwhile, opposition parties are refusing today to let the Government off the hook over the asset sales delay.
"The irony of the whole situation is if we are successful in
stopping the National Party from selling these assets, the
operating balance of the Government will actually be better off,"
said Russel Norman, Green Party Co-leader
The Government is adamant that the delay of the partial sale of Mighty River Power will only cost it around $5 million to $7 million.
Along with the partial sale of Mighty River Power, the
Government is also planning to push ahead with the sale of Meridian
and Genesis Energy towards the end of 2013.
'Investors may turn their backs'
Market analyst Brian Gaynor says the Government's decision to delay the partial sale of Mighty River Power will cause investors to look elsewhere.
Gaynor of Milford Asset Management told TV ONE's Breakfast this morning that the new delay will likely mean that investors are turned off from buying the shares.
"In business, momentum is very important, and once you lose momentum that's when some investors may turn their backs on it. It puts question marks in people's minds," he said.
He also said that even if the part-sale of assets does go ahead, the lack of offerings is unlikely to have wide appeal for New Zealand investors.
"It's a lot of shares in the same industry, you could probably do it if it was different industries, if it was an airport, if it was a port company, and if there was an electricity generator [to be partially-sold]."
With two electricity generators already on the sharemarket, Trust Power and Contact Energy, Gaynor does not think there is "sufficient investor appetite" to justify a further three electricity companies being made available for purchase, as the Government has proposed.
Gaynor also doubted the government's plan to get a top price for
the assets, between $5 billion and $7 billion, saying the number
would be "hard to achieve".