Legal delay won't derail SOE floats - English

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 09:57 15/02/2013

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A delay in the outcome of a legal challenge to the Government's plans to sell down its stake in a strong of state owned enterprises should not derail the programme, Finance Minister Bill English says.

The Supreme Court warned yesterday that it will not meet the Government's ''preferred timetable'' of delivering its decision on a challenge by the Maori Council by February 18.

Instead a decision is expected by the end of the month.

The Government has said the last possible date at which it could begin the process for floating Mighty River Power is March 22, and today a spokeswoman for Mr English said the latest delay would not spoil the plans.

"The delay is manageable."

The Maori Council launched a legal challenge to plans to sell up to 49 per cent of Mighty River and the other state owned power companies, saying any sales should be delayed until the Government addresses issues over water rights for Maori.

While the challenge was dismissed by the High Court, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case on January 31 and February 1.

In a statement, Maori Council lawyer Donna Hall said she trusted ''that the Crown will not be moved to any precipitous action for the sake of another 10 days or so, and looks forward to the decision in due course''.

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