By Patrick Gower
Maori claiming ownership of the Waikato riverbed have confirmed they will seek a legal injunction to stop the sale of Mighty River Power.
And they're considering charging the electricity company rent - and back rent - for the three hydro-dams already there.
A number of Mighty River power dams sit on the Waikato riverbed, and the people of Pouakani say they own the riverbed there.
With ownership comes rights - like the right to charge the electricity company for usage.
A Supreme Court ruling has just opened the way for Pouakani to claim for the riverbed.
Poukani leader Tamati Cairns says selling off Mighty River Power before the claim is dealt with is akin to confiscation.
The riverbed under claim houses three Mighty River Power dams:
- Maraetai I
- Maraetai II
They have been there for almost 70 years which could mean back-rent, or compensation too.
The riverbed claim has been going since 1993 - 19 years. And the Pouakani community says after fighting for so long, it has no choice but to seek an injunction on the Mighty River Power sale - either hand-in-hand with the Maori Council or on its own.
Prime Minister John Key says no one can own water but on riverbeds he's not so sure.
So it's not just the water causing problems for asset sales - it's the riverbeds as well. The Pouakani case always had the potential to be a legal nightmare for the Government, and today's confirmation an injunction is coming is just further proof of that.
source: newshub archive