Finance Minister Bill English has warned potential investors in the country's four State energy companies that they need to be aware of Government obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi.
But Mr English was not clear what that might mean for the private investors.
The Government's plans to sell up to 49% stakes in its four energy companies. It has argued only the Crown can be bound by general Treaty of Waitangi obligations, not private shareholders.
But Mr English says private investors should know what it means to be investing alongside the Government.
He says they should be aware the Government does have an obligation to consult Maori.
Mr English says investors will want some certainty about what this means for them, but this is unlikely to be determined until later in the process.
He says the companies themselves are still bound by specific Treaty obligations related to the use of natural resources.