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National Freshwater claim goes to Supreme Court

On 31 January and 1 February the Supreme Court in Wellington will hear the appeal by the NZ Maori Council and the Waikato River and Dams Claim Trust.  Our legal team will argue that the issues are not well defined after the High Court decision.  We have crafted grounds of appeal that simply contradict the findings of the High Court.  These leave open all of the arguments that were run before the High Court.  However, they do not compel us to argue any one of them.  This is a perfectly respectable tactic before the Supreme Court.  However, the Supreme Court is unique in New Zealand in that it decides the issues it will hear, not us as the applicants.  A copy of the grounds of appeal is attached.e Legal Team Colin Carruthers QC has been brought in to lead the legal team.  He will be assisted by Mr Phillip Green, Barrister, and Mr Felix Geiringer.  Woodward Law will continue to be the instructing solicitors.

Professor Winiata, Tamati Cairns, Rihari Dargaville, and Peter Clarke continue to represent the Claimants in Wai 2358.  Tamati Cairns, Tuku Morgan, Roger Pikia, Willie Te Aho, and Roimata Minhinnick represent the Waikato River and Dams Claims Trust.

The Waitangi Tribunal has recommended that the Crown not go ahead with its proposed partial privatisation of power generating SOE until the Tribunal has at least had a chance to issue its full decision on stage one of this Inquiry. The full decision, due in September 2012, will also address the issue of whether a delay in the share sale should be recommended on a slightly longer term basis. Yesterday’s decision is therefore very much only an interim one. The Tribunal has found that the issue of Maori proprietary interests to water resources is a serious issue that needs to be resolved and that a delay until September would not cause significant prejudice to the Governments policy. There is no guarantee that this decision will be followed by a further recommendation of a delay in September. The Council is very happy with the decision. It is everything we could have hoped for at this stage. Council and the hapu claimants are seeking a solution to this matter and would value discussion.

Waitangi Tribunal interim report on the National Freshwater and Geothermal Resources claim released on Friday, 24 August 2012.Read the report The Council hopes the Government will listen to the Waitangi Tribunal and agree to halt the sale of Mighty River Power until a mechanism can be agreed to protect Maori interest.Media Statements (3.26 MB). NZMC has been well represented by our legal team in the Waitangi Tribunal. That is shown by the positive report from the Tribunal and the way the Tribunal has picked up on the submissions of our counsel in its report. The NZMC and other claimants have selected a claim management to team to take the claim forward. Part 2 of the hearing is yet to be held. We hope that can happen soon. In the meantime we look forward to the Crown’s response to the report.

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