The Maori Council's challenge to the Government's partial
asset sales plan is likely to bypass the Court of Appeal and
go directly to the Supreme Court early next year in order to
meet the looming deadline for the sale of Mighty River Power.
The council's High Court bid to block the Government's "mixed
ownership model" until a mechanism to address Maori
proprietary water rights is established came to an end
yesterday in Wellington after a two-and-half-day hearing.
Justice Ronald Young, who could delay the Government's asset
sales plan for months if not years by finding in favour of
the council, said he was likely to issue his judgment before
Both the Maori Council and the Prime Minister, John Key, have
said they will probably lodge an appeal if they lose.
But with the Government planning on selling up to 49 per cent
of Mighty River some time between March and June next year
and the courts taking a month-long break in the new year,
time is tight for appeal hearings.
In his affidavit to the court, Treasury Deputy Secretary John
Crawford said all appeals would have to be completed by
February 18 in order to meet the Government's preferred
timetable or by March 11 to have any chance of selling Mighty
River shares before the end of June.
Any delay would create a big hole in the Government's
expected revenues and result in increased debt.