The Waitangi Tribunal has said it wants the Government not to proceed with any asset partial sales until it completes its report.
I think the politically smart thing to do is for the Government to agree to this, even though it will mean a delay. The reasons are:
- The delay is likely to be two months or so only, which isn’t critical. Selling MVP in say Oct/Nov instead of Aug/Sep is not a big deal.
- If he Govt declines a delay, I suspect it might annoy the Tribunal enough that they are more likely to make unpalatable findings in their final report.
- A refusal to delay would inevitably see court action.
- The Maori Party would be placed in a very difficult position if the govt refused the Tribunal’s request.
- The public might not agree the the claim made to the Tribunal, but they would find it hard to understand why one can’t wait until September for their final report.
Just to be very clear, if the final report comes out and says the partial asset sales should not proceed until all water rights issues have been resolved (which could take years), then I do not advocate that the Government should necessarily agree to further delays. That decision has to be based on what exactly the Tribunal says, and the quality of the reasoning for their recommendations.
But a delay until their report is done, is not an unreasonable thing, so long as their report is completed by September as indicated.