PM announces next steps for Mighty River salePrime Minister John Key today outlined the Government’s next steps to prepare Mighty River Power for its partial sale in the first half of 2013.
“I’m pleased to announce today Cabinet made three decisions regarding our shares sales programme:
“First, the Government will not implement the Waitangi Tribunal’s ‘shares plus’ concept, or engage in further negotiations in relation to that concept, before the sale of shares in our energy companies.
“Second, the Government will proceed to remove Mighty River Power from the State Owned Enterprises Act. We will prepare an Order in Council for Cabinet and Executive Council to consider and approve on Tuesday 23 October.
“And finally, we will direct officials to continue to work towards a sale of up to 49 per cent of the shares in Mighty River Power between March and June 2013.”
The decision comes after the conclusion of consultation on ‘shares plus’ with Māori with direct interests in the water and geothermal resources used by Mighty River Power, and Meridian and Genesis.
Mr Key says the series of hui on ‘shares plus’ was part of the Government’s commitment to consult with Māori in good faith.
“From the series of the hui, and the written submissions the Government received, it is clear Māori claim a wide range of rights and interests in water.”
Mr Key says the Government’s position on water has always been very clear:
“Following analysis of the oral submissions made at hui, along with the written submissions, the Government’s view is that no new information has come to light to change our preliminary view – which is, that the concept of ‘shares plus’ should not be progressed,” says Mr Key.
- In common law no one owns water.
- Maori do have rights and interests in water, and these will continue to be addressed through a range of processes such as Treaty settlements, the Government’s Fresh Start for Fresh Water programme and dialogue with iwi leaders.
- The partial sale of Mighty River Power does not impact on the Crown’s ability to recognise Maori rights and interests in water.
We are delighted that the Government has held its nerve, and that it has failed to bow to threats of legal action by the Maori Council and other groups. We have already registered our interest to purchase Mighty River Power shares, and look forward to being able to do just that.
National campaigned strongly on the Mixed Ownership Model in 2011. Labour, the Greens and other opposition parties campaigned equally strongly against asset sales. The election delivered National the ability to form a government, and with that came the mandate to institute its agenda.
The usual suspects are already starting to moan and complain, but the Government is doing what it said it would do, and what it was elected to do. Let the process of selling a minority shareholding in Mighty River Power and other State-owned enterprises begin.