National rushed through some panicked policy for freeing up Auckland land for housing in time for the budget. As with most rushed policy, they have made a bit of a mess of it. The rough edges are showing:
Housing Minister defends plan to free up Auckland Crown land amid ‘unsuitable’ claims
Labour MP Phil Twyford said only a quarter of the 500 hectares of Crown land earmarked for development was suitable for building on to increase Auckland’s housing supply, but the Government denies that is the case.
Twyford said “the only way you can get to that kind of land holding is by including land currently used for a range of public purposes – far more than the reserves and DOC land current cited by the Government.”
The land included a power substation in Glendene, a “massive piece of electricity infrastructure”, that left power knocked out to nearly 50,000 homes in 2013 after an an explosion.
Other land the Government planned to build on included a cemetery, a fire station, and school playing fields, Twyford said.
Smith would not release the full list of sites, as there was still a large amount of work to be done to check which sites were viable.
“Houses on cemeteries ‘nonsense’, says Nick Smith”
Housing Minister Nick Smith has defended his plans to free up crown land in Auckland to build new homes despite claims people could end up living on top of cemeteries, school playing fields and on pylons.
Mr Smith said the Labour’s claim people would essentially be living on top of cemeteries were “nonsense”.
Mr Smith said announcing the list now would only create uncertainly.
Listing the land to be used does not “create uncertainty”, it does the exact opposite!
And now today, this:
Iwi calls urgent meeting over Crown land sell-off
The Government and Auckland Maori are headed for a legal clash over plans to sell public land to developers to help ease the housing crisis.
Ngati Whatua has called in lawyers because it thought it would be given first rights to buy the land under its treaty settlement, but the Government is using a workaround, meaning it can sell the land straight to developers.
Ngati Whatua wasn’t consulted about the decision; it only discovered it wouldn’t be getting first option on the land after 3 News called. The iwi has now asked for an urgent meeting with the Government for them to explain the situation.
The technicality that the Nats are planning to use to dodge their treaty obligations is that the land will be for “public housing use”, but nothing in the proposed description of the land use, which is all about private developers and market rates, meets any reasonable interpretation of “public housing”. The government has another big can of worms on its plate.