Friday, July 20, 2012

A meteorite

Earlier in the week, John Key likened the chances of his privatisation programme being delayed by court action to those of a meteorite hitting the earth. He better hope he has a deep, deep bunker - because that meteorite has arrived:

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.

The group is the Pouakani people, who claim a 50 mile stretch of the Waikato River, and who just won a Supreme Court ruling [PDF] that the government did not own it under the Coal Mines Amendment Act 1903. The actual ownership of the river is still to be decided by the High Court, and will no doubt be subject to appeals whichever way it goes. But the fact that it is in serious dispute is a problem for the government. The blunt fact is that they're trying to sell something which may not legally belong to them. And it is entirely appropriate that the courts step in to halt the sale until the matter is resolved.