Anyone feel a hīkoi coming on? Angry protests on the cards? Cracks in the coalition? Iwi/Kiwi billboards and rednecks freaking out on talkback radio?
One flip comment from the PM saying his Government could ignore whatever the Waitangi Tribunal decides about Māori water rights and it’s all on.
The Māori Party formed over the divisive foreshore and seabed legislation and it’s hard to see how they can back a Government that isn’t even willing to let a fair process take place over water.
The Waitangi Tribunal is this week hearing a Māori Council claim over water rights. It’s being heard urgently because those rights will be affected when the Government starts selling power companies which use water to generate electricity.
That’s asking for legal action which could take years to resolve and it’s also a slap in the face for the tribunal, for Māori, for the Māori Party, and for all New Zealanders who believe in a Treaty based approach.
Key and the Māori Party will get together to talk about it but there are already calls for the party to pull its support for the Government.
There’s no way the Government should start selling shares until these issues are resolved. They not only affect Māori but raise concerns for investors. If the assets end up being sold for less than they are worth would be an absurd outcome. Even just a 10% discount on the price would cost taxpayers $600 million over all the proposed privatised assets.