“.. The Government insists its asset sales plans are on track – despite canning a key step in preparing state-owned Mighty River Power for sale.
But Opposition MPs said the move – triggered by court action – put the March-June timetable for the partial selldown of the energy company in doubt.
Justice Young in the High Court at Wellington yesterday set an interim date of November 26 to hear a challenge by the Maori Council and Waikato River hapu Pouakani to the sale.
The Crown’s lawyer David Goddard QC had asked for a date to be set so Cabinet could decide whether to go ahead with an order-in-council changing Mighty River Power’s status from a state-owned enterprise -
- to prepare it for sale.
After Cabinet ministers were told of the date he returned to court to say the order would not go ahead before the full hearing.
Mr Goddard said the Crown did not expect the the November hearing would “try and solve all questions related to the ownership of water in New Zealand”.
The Maori Council’s Rahui Katene said the delay was an early victory – but Prime Minister John Key said victory could be claimed only if the council won in court.
“We believe we’re right,” he said.
“It really doesn’t make any difference at this point anyway because we don’t need [the order] till March or April of next year.”..”
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