The Prime Minister has confirmed a general Treaty of Waitangi clause will be included in new legislation paving the way for the partial sale of four state-owned energy companies. Mr Key says words will be added to make it absolutely clear the Treaty obligations do not apply to private shareholders in the partially privatized companies.
There is immense relief throughout the private shareholders community today that Treaty obligations will definitely not apply to them.
Expressions of relief have ranged from 'Phew!' to 'And a bloody good job too.'
One experienced shareholder who prefers not to be named says he and other shareholders would have found it embarrassing to even acknowledge the existence of the Treaty, let alone have any obligations under it.
'We just wouldn't have felt comfortable getting our heads around all that historical stuff,' he says. 'It's not really appropriate having a sense of history when you're looking for a decent return on your investment.'
This veteran investor says if Treaty ideas had been allowed to infiltrate and infect the financial markets, there's no telling where it would end. They'd probably start teaching it in schools, he says, and exposing vulnerable young people to unsettling ideas.
Another investor who is looking forward to getting a piece of Mighty River Power or Meridian Energy says he saw a Maori on the other side of the street once and felt a bit funny about it.
He points out that investment is a global business these days and it would have been totally cringe-making having to explain to overseas brokers and fund managers that in New Zealand you couldn't just go ahead and do what you like but had to keep looking over your shoulder wondering who was going to pop out of the bushes next and start talking about principles and clauses.
'I think New Zealand needs to keep in line with robust global standards,' he says, 'and this Treaty stuff frankly is, well, not to put too fine a point on it, a bit nancy-boy if you know what I mean.'
Hamilton father of three Donald Trumpet, who heads the investors' group Cashed-Up Mums and Deleveraged Dads, says it's all very well having fancy ideas about rights and ownership but when it comes to investment opportunities a level head and a firm handshake are the best fit with the profit motive.
'I think the Bible had it pretty right,' reasons Mr Trumpet. 'Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and let the Tauranga Horowhenua look after themselves.'
Mr Trumpet says shareholders are a proud people who have had to fight for everything they've got and didn't get where they are today by kowtowing to others, especially those who have no idea of the courage it takes to stand in the market and risk everything on a moment's trade.
He adds, however, that he is no racist—far from it; in fact, he personally regards Perry Weepu as a better halfback than Jimmy Cowan.