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The National Government's asset sales agenda is in crisis and it is time to give it up, Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said today.
The Waitangi Tribunal's interim report on water rights released today says that the Crown would be in breach of the Treaty if the Government pushes ahead with asset sales before concluding a deal with iwi over water rights.
"In its rush to sell our assets, National has found itself in a crisis of its own making," said Dr Norman.
"The strongly-worded report from the Waitangi Tribunal leaves the Government with three choices.
"It could ignore the Waitangi Tribunal's recommendations and find itself in court battles with iwi; it could attempt to cut a deal that would see it hand over millions of dollars' worth of shares in our energy companies to iwi, which may not settle the issue; or it can do the sensible thing and drop its asset sales agenda altogether.
"National's asset sales agenda is now in crisis with the future of the energy companies' water rights up in the air, ballooning sales costs, risks to the electricity market if the Tiwai point smelter closes, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand unready for sale, and more than 200,000 New Zealanders so far having signed the petition calling for a referendum on asset sales.
"This is a crisis that National has brought upon itself by trying to push through asset sales that New Zealanders do not want," said Dr Norman.