Mark Solomon, the chairman of South Island iwi Ngai Tahu, has
hit back at Labour MP Shane Jones' criticism that the tribe
has "divided Maoridom" by supporting the Crown in its legal
battle with the Maori Council over asset sales.
Mr Jones said an affidavit supplied by Ngai Tahu to the Crown
as it opposes the Maori Council's bid to halt the
Government's asset sales programme in a High Court hearing
next week, "splits Maoridom over the vexed issue of water
The Maori Council argues the partial sale of Mighty River
Power and other power companies may affect the Crown's
ability to deal with Maori rights and interests in fresh
But in its affidavit, Ngai Tahu says the sale would not
affect its own rights and interests.
In an opinion article published by the New Zealand
Herald today, Mr Solomon said it was "unfortunate" the
iwi's submission to the court had been made public before the
hearing as "some parties have used it to score political
"Notwithstanding the recent comments from vested political
interests, our affidavit filed in the High Court is not
dividing Maoridom, nor should be seen as such."
The affidavit clarified the role of Ngai Tahu, the Freshwater
Iwi Leaders Group and the Iwi Chairs' forum in the discussion
about water rights.
It was supplied "to neither support the Crown nor oppose the
Maori Council but to provide illumination to the High Court",
Mr Solomon writes.
- Adam Bennett, NZ Herald