Wednesday October 26, 2016   Last updated 15:12PM

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Māori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is criticising the prime minister’s threat that funding for schools and hospitals could dry up if Māori water rights claims stop the sale of state owned power companies.

After three days of hearing this week, the High Court reserved its decision on the claim by the New Zealand Māori Council and Waikato River iwi that the sale of shares in Mighty River Power should not go ahead until Maori proprietary rights in water were assessed and accounted for.

John Key says his Government needs the money from the sales for new capital infrastructure, because it doesn’t want to run up more debt.

Dr Sharples says Māori have the right to have their legal rights tested through the courts, and Mr Key’s attack is unwarranted.

"A lot of this happens in politics where you palm off something you are doing to something else that might make it more acceptable to the people you want to impress and it's not a good side of politics," he says.

Pita Sharples says the court case has highlighted differences between the western idea of ownership as exclusive and Maori ideas of kaitiakitanga or governorship.

Copyright © 2013, Uma Broadcasting Ltd

Copyright © 2013, Uma Broadcasting Ltd

Copyright © 2013, Uma Broadcasting Ltd

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