The Supreme Court decision

February 27th, 2013 at 3:10 pm by David Farrar

The has unanimously ruled all decisions on the share sales are reviewable for consistency with Treaty obligations.

Not yet clear though if the actions have been deemed legal. More to come.

UPDATE: But it appears they have said the sale will not materially affect Govt’s ability to settle Treaty claims. Hence it looks like the Government can proceed.

Note this is based on tweets from those in court room.

Yes, a number of sources are saying the have effectively lost.

The Government will be very relieved.

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43 Responses to “The Supreme Court decision”

  1. Auberon (779 comments) says:

    Adam Bennett ‏@AdDeville
    The Supreme Court has upheld the Maori Council’s legal challenge to the Government’s flagship asset sales policy.

    Adam Bennett ‏@AdDeville
    Sorry, got that wrong!!!!

    Muppet

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  2. Pete George (23,833 comments) says:

    It’s odd how that came out on Twitter, at first it seemed that the Government had lost, now it seems they have won.

    Joshua Hitchcock ‏@jcphitchcock
    Radio Live got it wrong, claiming that Supreme Court ruled for Māori. Failed to distinguish between justiciability and legality.

    Now…
    RadioLIVE Newsroom ‏@LIVENewsDesk
    BREAKING: NZ Maori council appeal dismissed by Supreme Court

    The danger of the race to be first.

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  3. GTP (42 comments) says:

    Garner on RadioLive say exactly the opposite, he’s saying assets sales have effectively been halted

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  4. B A W (100 comments) says:

    Great news, now we can start unlocking the capital in these companies and investing in new assets.

    But should I buy shares or not? That is the question.

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  5. RF (1,492 comments) says:

    Yahooooo … there is a god.

    What now ?

    Cannot see our weka eaters taking this on the chin.

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  6. barry (1,191 comments) says:

    Well – I am surprised. I thought that crazy old thing in charge of the court would find any reason to support the idea that maori own all water for ever.

    And im also relieved that stoneage thinking hasnt won over.

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  7. Cunningham (846 comments) says:

    Common sense prevails and the economic terrorists can now piss off back to where they came from.

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  8. Keeping Stock (9,384 comments) says:

    GPT said

    Garner on RadioLive say exactly the opposite, he’s saying assets sales have effectively been halted

    Bugger; I’ve missed hearing Garner have to choke on his words and correct himself.

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  9. kowtow (8,945 comments) says:

    “…..reviewable for consistency with Treaty obligations.”

    Sounds like a Supreme Court endorsement of the Treaty! That’s not good for New Zealand.

    The Treaty has been held to be a simple nullity and we need a referendum,not ad hoc Supreme Court rulings.

    If anyone thinks the asset sales will result in money for investment,think again,it’s all spoken for by the benes and the client state.

    This is a lose lose situation.

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  10. muggins (3,832 comments) says:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8358532/Challenge-to-SOE-sale-dismissed

    There is a pent up demand for shares in Mighty River Power. Anybody wanting any will be lucky to get more than a thousand or two.

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  11. Wayne91 (142 comments) says:

    Who’s money did the Maori Council just waste?

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  12. SPC (5,678 comments) says:

    So the Maori have a Treaty claim, but that claim is not dependent on it being settled before the 49% shareholdings are sold.

    I presume the government will guarantee none of the cost of settling the Treaty claim will fall on the SOE they sell 49% in – so those who buy take no unknown risk.

    Wayne91 it was an investment of their own money and they got what they wanted, it is just not in the form of getting settlement before the shares are sold – however their leverage (being able to delay) is reduced.

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  13. AG (1,834 comments) says:

    Note – a 5-0 decision, with a single judgment delivered by the Chief Justice.

    I’m guessing there’ll be a few apologies tendered by all those who accused her of bias and said she couldn’t be trusted to consider this issue #sarcasm.

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  14. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (901 comments) says:

    Garner eating humble pie?? I guess it is like eating a huge pie!!! Priceless to see Garner, the leftie biting the dust! Asset sales programme in shambles eh, mate it is your reputation as a journalist that is in shambles. Get your act together buddy.

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  15. gazzmaniac (2,306 comments) says:

    I’m glad the ruling came from Sian Elias, since it’d be very hard to argue that she wasn’t sympathetic to maori interests.

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  16. Pete George (23,833 comments) says:

    In a press release Shearer says the assets shouldn’t be sold “at rock bottom prices”. Isn’t the share market going well at the moment?

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  17. Halconero (6 comments) says:

    At last, a glimmer of sanity amid all this Treaty bullshit trip!

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  18. barry (1,191 comments) says:

    AG (1,517) Says:
    February 27th, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    What the court has done is rule that under the treaty maori have claim on water. That is a activist decision and is none of the courts buisness in the case.

    Which considering that there is a constitutional review going on – its no small thing.

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  19. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    B A W>But should I buy shares or not? That is the question.

    Logically I shouldn’t. I think buying anything where the Minister of Finance has majority ownership is just asking to be the victim of political interference and populism. However, I’m willing to waste a couple of thousand bucks just to rub it in the face of Labour, NZ First, and the Greens.

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  20. Grendel (1,013 comments) says:

    davidp, thats my theory as well.

    i am rightly concerned with any asset where the value of it has a lot to do with barriers to entry for competitors. and since the RMA makes it a nightmare and the greens protest everything, the opportunity for competition is basically nill, so for that reason i suspect the value overinflated.

    however from an income perspective, if they are fucked sideways by stupid political crap from the greens and labour they should be good from that perspective. so on that basis watch them be worthless after 2014 if shearer and the mad mob can cobble together the worst coalition in history.

    but more importantly, its a good decision politically to have a government start (albeit slowly and with no real balls) to get out of owing stuff it has no business owning, so from that perspective, i will be throwing money at it.

    all in all this is good news to rub in the faces of bradbury, idiot and the rest of the whiny pack of bludgers.

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  21. publicwatchdog (3,161 comments) says:

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/supreme-court-throws-out-maori-councils-mighty-river-appeal-bc-#comment-608414

    What would be the effect of the Government signing the Transpacific Partnership Agreement, on Maori ‘rights and interests’ in water?

    Irrespective of what you believe regarding ‘who owns the water’ – won’t the TPPA lock in investors’ rights over all others?

    http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_gallery/the-tppa-and-capital-controls/

    BUT WE CAN STILL DO SOMETHING TO STOP THE SALE OF MIGHTY RIVER POWER!

    Switch Off Mercury Energy – 100% owned by Mighty River Power!

    “Let me make it quite clear. If the Government doesn’t get a good price – the Government isn’t going to sell”

    (Tony Ryall, Minister of SOE’s 17/6/2012 NBR

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/govt-wont-sell-assets-if-it-cant-get-good-price-ryall-ck-121435

    How can the Government get a ‘good price’ for Mighty River Power – if it’s losing thousands of customers and it’s profits are dropping?

    PRECEDENT: In 2008, Contact Energy (already privatized) doubled their directors fees and raised their prices 12%.In 6 months, more than 40,000 customers switched from Contact Energy and their profits were halved.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/droughts/news/article.cfm?c_id=180&objectid=10590906&pnum=0

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’
    A Spokesperson for the Switch Off Mercury Energy community group.

    http://www.facebook.com/SwitchOffMercuryEnergy/info

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  22. AG (1,834 comments) says:

    What the court has done is rule that under the treaty maori have claim on water.

    No. It hasn’t. It just hasn’t.

    What it has said is that because the Government is doing stuff with SOE’s, and the SOE legislation (plus the legislation that lets part of the SOEs be sold off) says that the Government is bound by the principles of the Treaty, then when the Government makes a decision about selling off part of SOEs it must make sure it is acting consistently with Treaty principles. And because the Government can still respond to any future claims on water after a partial sale, then it is doing so. And that is all.

    The Supreme Court says nothing whatsoever about whether there are/are not Treaty claims to water. It’s the Government that has recognised that such claims may exist: ““The government has a very clear position, it believes no one owns water, it does believe that on a case by case basis certain Maori may have rights and interests
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7680986/Maori-don-t-own-water-Key

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  23. Nostalgia-NZ (5,322 comments) says:

    ,
    “The Supreme Court overturned Justice Young on that point, saying the proposed sale is reviewable for consistency with the principles of the Treaty.
    But it found government consultation on water rights after a Waitangi Tribunal recommendation was adequate, and that the partial sale of the assets “will not impair to a material extent the Crown’s ability to remedy any Treaty breach in respect of Maori interests in water”.

    The above is the fine print for many I’m sure. Young said that government decisions weren’t reviewable the Supreme Court has said they are, at least in terms of principles of the Treaty. Pretty radical decision I would have thought.

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  24. Grendel (1,013 comments) says:

    is there a raving lefty bandwagon penny moron wont shoehorn herself onto and declare herself the spokesmuppet for?

    glad to see she is still trotting out the same old selective claptrap.

    interesting attempt to claim that private companies are just more expensive, when it was shown quite clearly that it depends on the market they are in, and the point of time. but facts never help the rhetoric of the chronically stupid like penny.

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  25. Viking2 (11,685 comments) says:

    publicwatchdog (1,269) Says:
    February 27th, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    BUT WE CAN STILL DO SOMETHING TO STOP THE SALE OF MIGHTY RIVER POWER!

    Switch Off Mercury Energy – 100% owned by Mighty River
    ———————-

    Can’t you read Penny.

    We don’t want to stop it.

    So be a good girl and piss off to the stranded where they will love you for giving them something to talk about.

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  26. stigie (1,457 comments) says:

    Hey Penny “we won you lost eat that”

    Stigie
    Anti-corruption campaigner for people not paying their rates.

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  27. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    I’m guessing there’ll be a few apologies tendered by all those who accused her of bias and said she couldn’t be trusted to consider this issue #sarcasm.

    This. And the other bit that Prof Geddis wrote.

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  28. PhilP (163 comments) says:

    @ Penny Bright (dim)….. I see you didn’t sign off with 2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate, has the funding been pulled?

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  29. thedavincimode (6,890 comments) says:

    Penny Possum Top

    Stiassny chairs Vector, not Mercury. Turning off Mercury won’t help the lunatic Siemer feel any better.

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  30. muggins (3,832 comments) says:

    Tell you what, those shares won’t be sold at rock bottom prices as per Shearer. I reckon the demand will be so great that the government could virtually ask what they like for them. I would expect them to be priced so that the buyers will get at least a 6% return. And anyone wanting to buy will be lucky to get more than a couple of thousand first up.

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  31. Mary Rose (393 comments) says:

    davidp> However, I’m willing to waste a couple of thousand bucks just to rub it in the face of Labour, NZ First, and the Greens.

    If you’ve a couple of grand to throw away to make a point they’d not really notice, hand it over and I’ll stand outside Parliament for a week with a ‘Labour.NZ First/Greens are rubbish’ placard. :-)

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  32. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    Mary Rose>If you’ve a couple of grand to throw away to make a point they’d not really notice, hand it over and I’ll stand outside Parliament for a week with a ‘Labour.NZ First/Greens are rubbish’ placard.

    But my buying the shares pushes the price up, even if only slightly. The more they’re worth, the more it will cost the NZ First-Greens-Labour coalition to buy them back. They’re going to put up taxes anyway, so I’d rather they spent seven billion bucks buying shares rather than increasing welfare spending.

    I’m also quite happy with National borrowing money. The bigger they leave the national debt, the less scope there is for future spending by the Coalition of Losers And Weirdos. In an ideal world National would cut taxes to nothing and leave Shearer a Debt to GDP ratio of about 1.5:1. That would force him to be fiscally prudent.

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  33. smttc (767 comments) says:

    Malcolm Barbrow (or whatever his name is over at NRT) is frothing at the mouth calling for civil and political insurrection.

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  34. Mary Rose (393 comments) says:

    davidp – no argument with your arguments.

    I just thought it might be funnier (and profitable for me) to be paid to get up their noses!

    Plus I could pass the time arguing with all the other nutbar protesters who hang around the memorial.

    And give misleading ‘help’ to tourists.
    “When in NZ, it is customary to…”

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  35. southtop (251 comments) says:

    I am little miffed at this decision. On one hand I enjoy an hastily called election on the other hand it does allow time for a real national party to get established……one can only hope?

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  36. Nostalgia-NZ (5,322 comments) says:

    The decision is not the victory it is being announced as. It’s essentially ‘appeal dismissed’ as the respondent accepts and will accommodate that any remedy available now will be available despite the SOE being sold, or, as it is more ‘correctly’ referenced, partly sold. If any appeal was to be dismissed it could hardly be considered to be more favorably to the plaintiff/applicant. This decision will take a while to sink in apparently.

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  37. muggins (3,832 comments) says:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/8362755/Govt-eyes-three-SOE-floats-this-year

    Strong interest shown,as predicted.

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  38. tvb (4,560 comments) says:

    There is a sting in this judgment regarding complying with the treaty but that selling a 49% share does not materially affect the Crown’s obligations. So a partial victory only for the Government. The decision looks like a fudge to me. The Court backed off. Traditionally Courts are reluctant to frustrate a Government on policy matters. And this is high policy which was much debated during the election.

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  39. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    As far as I am concerned this isn’t good news for the average Kiwi.

    There is still the high possibility that Maori will win the water rights, which will need addressing, either by way of a huge pay off or some other equally expensive means in the future.

    ALL New Zealand tax payers will be paying. I’d really like to see that maths that proves this is going to be more profitable to NZ than leaving the status quo, when you add what this has cost us so far. I doubt very much the dividends paid to those of us that can afford a few shares (and most can’t) will cover the increased power costs and any payout to Maori etc.

    Great to see our PM didn’t have a plan B. That really inspires confidence – NOT. In my opinion they should be prepared for any eventuality as this could have just as easily gone the wrong way for them. I do not believe anything is ‘certain’ in politics, and JK is a fool to think otherwise.

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  40. wreck1080 (4,001 comments) says:

    The maori risk premium will be priced into the value and the government will not get as good a price as they think.

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  41. Paulus (2,712 comments) says:

    Listening to intelligent analysis this morning it would appear that probably all the partial sales shares will be held in New Zealand as their is something of the order of $200 billion effective cash sitting in such as Kiwisaver, Bank term deposits (giving a poor return due to mortgage in fighting by the banks for market share) and pension funds.
    It was said that Kiwisaver having the best regular cash inflow will talk up as much as possibly available as it is considered in the best long term interest (which Kiwisaver is)of the Kiwisaver member.
    Overseas buyers, it was said would not be interested in New Zealand’s small energy companies as they would not be able to ultimately buy control like say Fisher & Paykel.
    I am restructuring my term deposits with my name down with my broker for as big a chunk as can be obtained – not considered much though as big managers (Kiwisaver) will get the favoured shares.

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  42. muggins (3,832 comments) says:

    I am sure that many people will be doing what Paulus is doing.
    But I doubt there will be all that many shares available to your average investor. I am thinking 2000 maximum.
    So if anyone wants more they will have to pay more for them, which will put the price up ,at least initially.
    Personally I can’t say I am necessarily in favour of the partial sales. The way I see it the Government needs the money. If they didn’t need the money why would they sell something that is paying a good dividend year after year?
    So far as Maori getting a payout, I have my doubts about that. How on earth can Maori own the water?
    Will power prices go up? They are going up now when they should probably be going down. It won’t be a good look for the government if prices do go up after the sell-off, so they will be trying their level best to see that doesn’t happen.

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  43. itstricky (2,027 comments) says:

    If they didn’t need the money why would they sell something that is paying a good dividend year after year?

    Yep. Never heard a good counter agrument to that. Heard lots of “but look at all the cash we’ll have for other stuff” over and over again but if it was your personal finances would you do that unless you were completely and utterly desperate? Does it make good financial sense to do so? Probably does for Solid Energy, but not for the power companies. I guess it would be good, if as pointed out above, a good portion of the country get to enjoy benefits (after retirement) through Kiwisaver. Still think those same people could more directly benefit through straight dividend return to the Government.

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