27 Jun 2012

PM quashes idea of reserving power firm shares for iwi

8:40 am on 27 June 2012

Just hours after saying it was a possibility, the Government has rejected suggestions it will set aside shares in Mighty River Power for a potential Treaty settlement with Tuwharetoa.

The Mixed Ownership Model Bill paving the way for the Government to sell up to 49% of Mighty River Power, Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy and Solid Energy was passed by Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

Tuwharetoa, which owns Lake Taupo and the upper Waikato River, says it allowed them to be used for electricity generation for the public good - not commercial profit - and will consider court action if its concerns are not addressed.

On Tuesday morning Finance Minister Bill English said the Government could either put aside shares or buy them later for the iwi once its claim has been settled.

But Prime Minister John Key says reserving shares is not on the agenda, and if need be, the Government would to go to the market and buy unallocated shares back.