Monday, September 03, 2012


The government has delayed its plans to sell Mighty River Power, to allow time for negotiations with affected iwi. Good. As the Waitangi Tribunal made clear, iwi have strong interests in water, amounting to full ownership, and those interests will be irreversibly harmed by privatisation. This makes negotiations a requirement if the government is to be seen to uphold the Treaty.

While the new sale date is March next year, that's very much dependent on negotiations going well. Water is a complex issue, and the time has clearly come to sort it out properly, but I'm not sure it can be done in six months. Which will mean another delay announced in February or so, unless the government wants to face a court injunction.

Meanwhile, the referendum campaign will have met its target by then, so even if negotiations go well the government will be trying to sell stuff while also having to organise a referendum against it. Which is not going to be a good look.