The Maori Council’s case attempting to stop the sale of up to 49% of shares in Mighty River Power opened yesterday.
The judge does not seem to be convinced:
However, Justice Young pushed back strongly in several exchanges with Cull, saying he could not understand the argument, given that the legislation explicitly assures Maori that the Crown would continue to be liable for settlement of such claims. . .
“You are really saying Parliament isn’t sovereign, that it is subject to the commercial interests of people involved with MRP” he said at one point. But Parliament changed the operating environment for companies “all the time.” . . .
“If the statute says it’s protected, it’s protected,” said Justice Young. The reassurance about the ability to continue pursuing Treaty of Waitangi claims was in the MOM legislation.
“Shareholders can’t object. They know the statute exists.” . . .
“Any Maori, hapu or iwi, who believe they have rights to water, can make a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, irrespective of this. There is a mechanism,” said Justice Young of arguments from Cull that there was insufficient protection for assets that are or could in the future be subject to treaty claims.
“You identify a right and file a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal or negotiate a settlement,” he said. . .
The case is expected to cost the Maori C0uncil about $400,000.
They obviously think that will be money well spent but I doubt if many other people do.