12 Dec 2012

Court calls on Govt to tackle water claims

12:53 pm on 12 December 2012

The judge in the failed Maori Council case against the Crown is urging the Government to deal with outstanding water claims.

The High Court dismissed the council's legal challenge aimed at blocking the partial sale of hydro-power stations until freshwater rights could be settled.

In his judgement released on Tuesday, Justice Ronald Young found there was no link between the sale of up to 49% of Mighty River Power and the need to provide for Maori claims to water.

However, he also said iwi and hapu are frustrated at being unable to negotiate with the Crown over water.

Justice Young said it was a great sadness that many claims have not been heard or resolved and urges the Government to urgently address the claims.

But he also acknowledged that the Crown has made efforts to deal with water use through the Iwi Leaders Group on Freshwater.

The court decision came as no surprise to the Maori Council's legal team and co-claimants, and an appeal is being prepared.

The Government says its share offer is on track for the first half of next year.