Ngai Tahu v Maori Council

Adam Bennett at NZ Herald reported:

Wealthy South Island iwi Ngai Tahu has split Maoridom by going in to bat for the Government against the Maori Council’s bid to thwart the partial asset sales programme, says the outspoken Labour list MP Shane Jones.

Some are furious at Ngai Tahu. They have dared to state their honest opinion.

But two months after Maori King Tuheitia’s national hui to promote a unified iwi approach to the issue, Ngai Tahu has supplied Crown Law with an affidavit in which it says any such rights would not be affected by the partial asset sales programme.

The affidavit from Ngai Tahu runanga’s principal adviser, Sandra Cook, says the iwi considered that it continued to have a full range of rights and interests in water as guaranteed under the Treaty of Waitangi.

“In Ngai Tahu’s view those rights and interests were not affected by the privatisation of Contact Energy in 1999.

“Nor does Ngai Tahu consider that its rights and interests will be affected by the proposed sale of shares in Mixed Ownership Model companies.”

The affidavit further undermines the Maori Council’s case by saying Ngai Tahu believed it was premature to resort to either the Waitangi Tribunal or the courts to deal with the issue.

It was an attempt to make the Maori Council more relevant.

Ngai Tahu is quite correct. The sale of Contact Energy has had no impact on the Crown’s ability to recognise water rights, and neither would the proposed part-sales.

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