More than 200 Maori attended the Waitangi Tribunal today to argue that they own the water in New Zealand rivers. They want the Tribunal to stop the government selling 49% of the electricity companies.
On June 26th the government passed the law to sell 49% of state energy companies. Listen to January 30th 2011 to hear about selling state assets. If the Waitangi Tribunal agrees that Maori have the right to own rivers, this could delay the government’s sale of state assets.
John Key said that no one owns the rivers although some people have water rights. Usually this means landowners who live beside a river. They have some rights e.g. to swim or fish in the river.
This claim to own the rivers is similar to the Maori claim to own the beaches and sea. Listen to March 24th 2011 to hear about this.
• Tribunal – a court
• Waitangi Tribunal listens to cases concerning the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi between Maori and the British Crown
• state companies – owned by the government
• assets – expensive things that people own
• energy companies – coal and electricity companies
• delay – postpone, will be much later
• claim – demand something