From grievance to growth

Trans-Tasman notes a tug-of-war between the government and Maori over the mixed ownership model for partial sales of state assets:

In seeking to get its mixed ownership model on state assets off the starting blocks the Govt is engaged in a vigorous tug-of-war with Maori interests, as it readies a share float of 49% of Mighty River Power. On the one hand some Maori interests have mounted a case with the Waitangi Tribunal to halt the sale. On the other, elements within the Iwi Leadership Forum see virtue in the share float as a safe haven for Treaty settlement money.

The more commercially minded believe a steady cash flow from investing in a utility (which has a proven record of consistent profits over a long period) is more desirable than costly court action. If the share float were to be halted it would eliminate an important avenue for safe investment of hard won Treaty settlement proceeds. Some within the Maori leadership see an opportunity to repeat the tactics of the 1980s when predecessors used the courts to extract concessions from the Govt. In its eagerness to get the sale off the ground, the Govt for its part has to find a balance which satisfies both elements.

You can’t blame anyone who sees a chance to get more from doing what they can to get it, including court action.

But real progress for Maori will come not from continuing protest and court action. It will come from moving from grievance to growth. That requires accepting  Treaty settlements, investing them wisely and using the proceeds carefully for economic and social good.

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