The Maori Council had sought an urgent hearing from the tribunal because of the potential loss of rights if the assets are partly privatised before their treaty settlements are complete.
The Tribunal has said yesterday that the ought not to begin the sale of shares in any of the mixed-ownership model companies until it has completed a report on stage one of its inquiry into the issue.
"In the interests of the Maori-Crown relationship, and all New Zealanders, the issues raised in this stage of the inquiry are serious ones that warrant measured consideration," the tribunal said.
"We also consider that the balance of convenience favours maintenance of the status quo."
While the rulings of the Tribunal are not binding on the government, the uncertaintly about rights or ownership of water would be really hard to deal with in the prospectus, arguably to the point where it creates serious uncertainty about the process and the price.
Tony Ryall , the Minister for State Owned Enterprises Minister says the government will consider advice in coming days.
Stage one of the tribunal's inquiry is to find if there are any Treaty rights to water and geothermal resources, and if there's a connection between them and the sale of the shares.
Ohhh....this is getting messy. Apart from the fact that most New Zealanders are opposed to asset sales, which doesn't seem to have any bearing on the process, this potential uncertainty sure is nasty in the midst of a sales process !Who'd want to sign off that prospectus ?