Maori demands might delay partial privatization of NZ energy companies

Maori Waka (war canoe) in New Zealand (source: flickr/ easegill, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 10 Jul 2012

Indigenous Maori in New Zealand are claiming ownership of geothermal resources used by energy companies in New Zealand and might thereby delay the partial privatization of among others Mighty River Power, as planned by the NZ government.

Reported from New Zealand by the Wall Street Journal last week, there seems to be a dispute that might delay or even hinder the partial privatization of four energy companies in New Zealand.

The indigenous Maori in New Zealand are “claiming ownership of geothermal and water resources used by the energy companies under the 177-year old Treaty of Waitangi document”.

The document had promised the Maori the undisturbed possession of their properties, unless the tribes sold those to the British Crown.

The case is now being assessed by a tribunal that – while not binding – could provide support to a possible injunction to the plans of the NZ government to partially privatize energy companies as planned.

The crucial element in this discussion is that ownership and management of the resources would have to be clarified before the sale of those companies.

For the geothermal resources this effects Mighty River Power. The company plans to decrease its 100% stake in energy companies, such as Mighty River Power and three other energy companies from 100% to 51%.  to raise around $4.8 billion.

Clearly in New Zealand and elsewhere the resources that companies built their business on are increasingly being seen as a hot topic with regards to sustainability, ownership, management and royalties for the public or owners.

Source: Blog Wall Street Journal