Monday, December 17, 2012

New Zealand:

New Zealand Maori Win Appeal Hearing in Water Dispute (Bloomberg)

New Zealand’s Maori Council, which represents the nation’s indigenous people, won the right to challenge the government’s plan to sell shares in state-owned energy companies.

The New Zealand Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, according to a posting on the court’s website today. High Court Justice Ronald Young dismissed the Maori challenge on Dec. 11, ruling the courts couldn’t review parliament’s decision to change the status of the companies from state-owned to mixed- ownership models to allow the sale.

New Zealand’s government, is cutting non-essential spending and selling assets to speed up a return to surplus. The government forecasts it will raise at least NZ$5 billion over the next three to five years by selling as much as 49 percent of Mighty River Power Ltd.

The Maori Council and groups supporting it claim the asset sales would be unlawful because they ignore outstanding Maori claims to freshwater and geothermal resources.

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