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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

3pm deadline for water/privatisation case

Hold your tickets...
The Maori Council is taking the Crown to court this morning in a last-minute bid to thwart the partial sale of Mighty River Power. At Wellington High Court, lawyers for the Maori Council will be seeking judicial review of the government’s plans to sell down its stake in Mighty River Power and two other energy companies, Meridian Energy and Genesis Power.
The council also wants an urgent hearing to stop the government from removing Mighty River Power from the State-owned Enterprise Act by passing of an order-in-council this afternoon.
Mighty River Power is expected to be transferred to the jurisdiction of the Public Finance (Mixed Ownership Model) Amendment Act 2012 when Governor-General Sir Jerry Mataparai signs an order-in-council at 3pm, which means it could be partially privatised.

I'm not sure of the extent to which the Maori Council will have to file on the case today - as it seems to involve a few different legs - so I don't know how much will be coming out or whether we will have to wait to see the whole lot. The courts will be the theatre of battle now in this confrontation. It'll be a shitstorm of lawyering.

An interim injunction [?] stopping the Minister going to the G-G seems to be what is contemplated to head the government off at the pass.

I imagine the government will claim that their "shares minus" scheme (the spitting upon the crumbs before they are cast under the table concept) will be held up as a 'good faith' exercise that will let the Crown scrape through the Treaty provisions that underscore the necessity for meaningful negotiations. There will no doubt be quite a bit to be made of the process deficiencies before the other more fundamental questions about water rights are gone into.

With the price tage of $400k being put about for the Council's legal action it will be a scrap they intend to win. They may not have the institutional advantage of government when they sit in front of the court, but the courts have been willing to recommend novel arrangements to satisfy unique situations and it is this ability the Council will be counting on.

The government, on the other hand, is working on short circuiting the main Iwi involved by offering side-deals and inducements (such as "shares minus"). Whether this pressure will cause them to break ranks, be divided and be (over-) ruled will probably depend on just how much the government will offer. Everyone has their price.

UPDATE 2:40pm
NZ Herald:
Cabinet was to have this morning made a final decision on an order-in-council which would have removed the company from the State Owned Enterprises Act and put it under the Mixed Ownership Model legislation allowing the sale of up to 49 per cent of its shares.
Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae was scheduled to sign the order this afternoon and it would have come into effect later this week.
However, following a short hearing this morning in the High Court Ronald Young set a tentative date of November 26 for the Maori Council's case to be heard.
Justice Young indicated he was concerned that the council's case would be prejudiced if it was heard after the order-in-council took effect.
Attorney General Chris Finlayson was briefed on the court proceedings ahead of this morning's Cabinet meeting where it was decided not to proceed with the order-in-council until after the hearing.
Maori Council spokeswoman Rahui Katene said Cabinet's decision not to proceed with the order-in-council and the setting of a court date was a victory.
"(The Government) are holding off on their timetable which they had set down very strongly but it's not yet a full victory we haven't had a chance to sit down and talk with the Crown."
Ms Katene said going to court was a last resort for the council which had always sought negotations with the Crown over the water issue.
Tamati Cairns, chairman of Waikato hapu Pouakani which spearheaded this morning's court action was also pleased with Cabinet's decision, "it allows us to gain traction".
The Maori Council and Pouakani are represented by Felix Geiringer Helen Cull QC Annette Sykes and Kath Ertel while Mr Goddard is being assisted by Crown Law's Jason Gough.
Mr Geiringer and his colleagues are arguing that the Crown has failed to implement mechanisms that will protect claimed Maori interests in freshwater and geothermal resources and that because its actions are inconsistent with the Treaty of Waitangi as required under Section 9 of the State-owned enterprises Act, its actions under the act furthering the sale are unlawful. The council statement of claim also says that the "defective consultation" makes the sale unlawful.
If the Maori Council is successful next month, the court will issue a declaration that the Government ought not to proceed - the courts do not issue injunctions against the actual Crown.
Prime Minister John Key this morning said people should "brace themselves" for a protracted court process over the sale of state-owned enterprise shares.
My Key said in all likelihood "it will not just go to the High Court - I imagine it will go to the Court of Appeal and potentially the Supreme Court."


At 23/10/12 12:58 pm, Blogger countryboy said...

This is too bizarre . Our Government fighting tooth and nail to sell an asset that belongs to us all while Maori et al try to stop that process ? Isn't what the Government is trying to do called treason ? Call me old fashioned but is that not an act of hostile aggression against the people of NZ ? Isn't it like being in your home of an evening and some stranger comes inside and sells your cutlery to your next door neighbour ? And when you need to use your cutlery for dinner you just pop next door and hire them back at an inflated rate . It's embarrassing , how dumbed down we've become . Where are the riots ? Where are the politicians barricaded inside their offices ?

This is a chilling and frightening process and obscene for it's complete lack of humanist empathy as displayed by our politicians and all for a dollar .

And who the fuck is Alan Gibbs ?


What the fuck has Alan Gibbs got to do with asset sales ?

Personally , I don't know . Lets ask him ? He can be found behind a mountain of money .

Don't you love that word ' entrepreneur ' ?

At 23/10/12 1:56 pm, Blogger Tim said...

so much easier it all was before the idea that greed was good.
Indeed countryboy - who the fuck is Alan Gibbs?
Who the fuck is ANY 'entre pren oooo a' or business spiv that professes some greater sage-like quality in a democracy?
They'd all be wheeling out the TINA bullshit again about now except for the fact that it got such a bad name (on account of - there were and are always alernatives).

Tammie Wynnette.............Stand by uuuuuuuuur maaaan.......

As Bomber used to post - How's all that CHANGE now NZ?

awe yea, but nah, but yea - it's rilly rilly good aye!

At 23/10/12 2:32 pm, Blogger Nitrium said...

Well it's not technically treason or theft, because the government is going to redistribute the proceeds of the sales back into NZ (i.e. we collectively own the assets and we will collectively own the proceeds). That is after all ALL a government does and all it can do - redistribute wealth. It takes surplus capital from our labour in the form of taxes (or in this case assets), and redistributes it where it sees fit. It is inherently inefficient due the overheads of any large non-profit driven organisation, especially true for governments. Nonetheless, it is necessary in order to fund large scale programs that don't directly produce profits and therefore are of little interest to entrepreneurs (e.g. schools, hospitals, roads, social programs etc).
My issue with these asset sales is not so much that they are selling the asset per se, but what they are using the proceeds for - largely it seems to "balance" a structural deficit in a futile attempt to goose the economy even further, rather than face the facts that is their management and policies of the country that are failing).


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