A member of Mighty River Power's board of directors has quit, in a move thought to be related to the Government's battle with Maori over water rights.
The company announced this morning that Parekawhia McLean, an independent director who also serves as chief executive of Waikato-Tainui Te Kauhanganui Incorporated had stood down because it was ''in the best interests of both Mighty River Power and Waikato-Tainui''.
"We thank Parekawhia for her time on the Board and wish her every success in the future," Mighty River Power chairwoman Joan Withers said in a statement.
McLean became a director of Mighty River less than two years ago. As well as being chief executive of Waikato Tainui, she is a member of the NZ Institute of Public Administration and the Maori Women’s Welfare League.
Mighty River Power is slated to be the first company privatised by the government under its mixed-ownership programme.
However the Waitangi Tribunal called for the process to be delayed until it considered proposals to give Maori shares, board positions and other rights over other shareholders in an arrangement it called ‘‘shares plus’’.
Last month much of Tainui boycotted a hui in Hamilton that was instigated by the Government to consult over the recommendations, after Prime Minister John Key said the proposals were unlikely to be accepted.
Withers insisted Mighty River’s relationship with Waikato Tainui remained strong despite the resignation.
‘‘We have worked hard to preserve all of our relationships over a long period of time with all our iwi partners and nothing has changed in that regard,’’ she said, adding that tomorrow she would speak at an MBA course near Ngaruawahia, part of Tainui’s leadership development programme.
‘‘We have ongoing, day-to-day relationships with Waikato Tainui and other iwi that we’re associated with.’’
Withers said McLean had considered her position before resigning.
‘‘Obviously when you’re a chief executive of an organisation and you sit on the board of a company you look at your position and you determine whether or not it’s appropriate to continue in that role.”
Questions of who might replace McLean on the board of Mighty River Power were "questions for the shareholder''.
McLean could not immediately be reached for comment.
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