18 Sep 2012

Turia understands why some iwi boycotting water hui

6:12 pm on 18 September 2012

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says she herself probably would not have turned up to the Government's consultation hui, as has been signalled by some iwi.

A number of iwi said they would not attend the first of six planned hui, in Hamilton on Tuesday evening for tribes from the Tainui region.

The hui are for iwi and hapu with specific connections to the resources used by the state-owned power companies the Government plans to partially privatise.

They are being held to discuss the Waitangi Tribunal's suggestion that such iwi be given a special shareholding (known as shares plus), and rights above those of other shareholders.

The Government has already described the proposal as unattractive, unnecessary and unworkable.

Mrs Turia says it is inappropriate for the Government to say it is consulting when it has a predetermined position, and, given the same circumstances, she would not turn up either.

Mrs Turia, who is also a government minister, says it is not for her to say whether or not iwi should attend.

But she says she has some sympathy for their stance.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson insists the Government is keeping an open mind, and has challenged iwi to come up with a convincing argument in favour of the special shareholding.