Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Fire from Hawaiki; Water from Tongariro

State-owned Nga Awa Purua Geothermal Power Station is not for sale
Iwi threatens lawsuit to halt power-asset sales
Central North Island iwi Ngati Tuwharetoa is threatening legal action to halt the partial sale of Mighty River Power and Genesis Energy unless it is given a share of the private sector profits to be generated from the use of its land. 


 Prime Minister John Key was yesterday downplaying the prospect of court action but Greens co-leader Russel Norman said a legal challenge from Tuwharetoa could at least delay the partial asset-sales programme. Read More

Asset sales protests spark unlikely partnership
An unlikely partnership has formed to fight the Government's partial asset sales, with Grey Power and the New Zealand University Students Association launching a petition aimed at getting a referendum on the issue. Read More


The fires of Ruaumoko were summoned from Hawaiki by the early Maori explorer Ngatoroirangi as he lay close to death on the peak of Tongaririo. The fires have to this day been a blessing on Ngatoroirangi's descendants and since settlement the geothermal power has been harnessed for the people by state-owned power stations.

The waters that flow through the hydro-electric power stations of the central North Island come largely from the snow-capped volcanic peaks that sit in the centre of Tongariro National Park. Te Heuheu Tukino IV gifted the peaks of this park to the Government in 1887 to protect them for the people of New Zealand.

The privatisation of these power stations will turn the ahi of Ngatoroirangi and the wai of Te Heuheu's gift over to control by super-rich  individuals and transnational corporations. Those who would privatise the fires that come from Hawaiki and the waters that run from the tapu peaks of Te Ika a Maui have stirred up new challenges from tangata whenua to the privatisation and exploitation of the mana whenua of the volcanic plateau.

If a legal challenge delays the privatisation plans for the Governments' SOEs the National Government the protest movement on the streets will be encouraged to step up action against the asset sales. Legal challenges will give investors pause but what will really destabilise share prices and the ability of the Government to sell off shares will be mass, direct action, occupations of  power stations around the country.

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