22 Aug 2011

SOE share-buying consortium 'good for smaller iwi'

6:03 am on 22 August 2011

The chief executive of a northern tribe says the plan for a Maori consortium to buy shares in state-owned enterprises is a brilliant prospect for smaller iwi, as well as the big players.

Fifty iwi chairs have agreed to join forces and buy into state-owned energy companies, and Air New Zealand, if the government goes ahead with plans for a 49% sell-down of shares next year.

Te Rarawa chief executive Kevin Robertson says the consortium would allow small tribes a stake in New Zealand's infrastructure they could otherwise miss out on.

He says the two giants in the Maori economy, Tainui and Ngai Tahu, are willing to set up a toolbox that allows other iwi to join the share co-op as and when they gain the resources.

Mr Robertson says for iwi like Te Rarawa who have yet to settle their Treaty claim, that represents a fantastic opportunity.

He says the consortium model would be based on the Fonterra co-operative model, and would keep the SOE's entirely in New Zealand hands.

Mr Robertson says the consortium model has worked well for iwi that have pooled fishing quota to gain a meaningful stake in that industry.