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Iwi not interested in 'shares plus' - Govt

Friday 28 Sep 2012 9:12 a.m.

Bill English (Photo: Jared Mason)

Bill English (Photo: Jared Mason)

Iwi leaders haven't shown much interest in the "shares plus" concept suggested by the Waitangi Tribunal as a way to deal with water rights when state-owned energy companies are partially privatised, the Government says.

It delayed selling 49 percent of the shares in Mighty River Power until March so it could consult iwi over the idea of Maori holding shares with powers "above and beyond" those of other shareholders, although it says the scheme would be unworkable.

Finance Minister Bill English held the last of six hui on Thursday night in Christchurch, talking to Ngai Tahu leaders.

"As we've gone through the hui there's been less and less enthusiasm about shares plus," he said on Friday.

"It's been worthwhile, they've been patient and they have no interest in the government dealing with the Maori Council because they don't represent anybody with an interest in water."

Ngai Tahu chairman Mark Solomon told Radio New Zealand "shares plus" might appeal to other iwi but doesn't deal with any of the issues around his iwi's waterways.

Mr Solomon says the hui focused on water quality and conservation.

The Government will collate all the submissions from the hui and consider its next step.

The Maori Council has said it is considering seeking a High Court injunction to stop the Mighty River Power share float.

The Government is confident that if that happens, it will win the case.

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