Lawyers for the Maori Council are in the Supreme Court in Wellington today arguing why they think the Government should be prevented from selling shares in Mighty River Power without first putting in place a mechanism to protect Māori claims to water.
The Crown will argue that there is no connection between water rights and the shares in the state owned hydro power generators which are to be privatised.
Spokesperson Donna Hall says the council wants the court to recognise that Māori do have proprietary rights in particular water sources.
They also want to overturn a government view that such rights don’t count when it comes to the use of that water by state owned enterprises or other commercial bodies.
"Probably the most important (purpose of the case) is to strengthen the capacity of hapū and iwi to have a say in the use of natural water sources by others, by third parties, and to safeguard the customary use that hapū and iwi have traditionally had with the flora and fauna in their fresh waters and also to be able to be involved in other activities they may want to be involved in," Ms Hall says.
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