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Posted by karere under Maori News
The Supreme Court will today deliver its decision on the Maori Council’s bid to block the sale of Mighty River Power at 3pm.
The Maori Council bypassed the Court of Appeal and took its case directly to the Supreme Court after losing in the High Court in December last year.
It argued that the sale of Mighty River Power and other power companies before issues around what ownership rights Maori may have over freshwater and geothermal resources was a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi.
Prime Minister John Key said last week that as long as the court delivered its decision this month, and it was favourable to the Crown, the Mighty River Power sale, the first under his Government’s flagship “mixed ownership model” legislation would proceed as planned during the second quarter of this year.
That would allow another power company, either Meridian or Genesis to be partially sold in the second half of this year.
Lawyers for the Crown had hoped the decision would be delivered last Monday to allow the sale of up to 49 per cent of Mighty River to go ahead according to the Government’s “preferred timetable”.
However the court which heard the case over two days on January 31 and February 1 informed the Maori Council and Crown lawyers it could not meet that timeframe.
The delay in delivering the decision has fuelled speculation the five judges hearing the case had differing views.
Bill English, in a speech delivered this afternoon, reiterated his commitment to the programme of power company floats .
The float would be a “shot in the arm” for capital markets and was expected to remain 80-90 per cent owned by New Zealanders, English said in a lunchtime speech to the Auckland Chamber of Commerce today.
“New Zealanders will be at the front of the queue for shares,” he said. “Including the Government’s majority stakes, ministers expect 85 per cent to 90 per cent of the shares across the programme to be held by New Zealanders, after the IPOs.”
English said New Zealand needed to become a magnet for investment. Although he conceded there was no “silver bullet” to make that happen the Government had to be doing “hundreds of small things well” to get the business environment right.
Yesterday, English said information from the Mighty River Power float could lead to a revision of the overall estimates of proceeds from the Government’s SOE sales programme.
“It’s possible the numbers will move around.”
A $5-$7 billion figure was the estimate given in the May 2011 Budget for the sale proceeds of up to 49 per cent of four state-owned enterprises (Mighty River Power, Genesis, Meridian, Solid Energy) and Air New Zealand.
By Adam Bennett[here]