Rightly or wrongly, the foreshore and seabed issue was the beginning of the end for the last Labour government. Strange that National seem determined to follow in their footsteps:
"I think some iwi…their expectations about what it means are higher than the legal reality." Bill English on Right of First Refusal. #rtpt
— Maiki Sherman (@MaikiSherman) June 4, 2015
Here’s the longer version:
Government will go to court over Auckland Crown land sales, John Key says
… A legal skirmish has broken out after Ngāti Whātua thought it would be given first right of refusal to Crown land up for grabs in Auckland. The Government announced as part of the Budget that 500 hectares of public land would be sold.
But Prime Minister John Key and Housing Minister Nick Smith have staunchly insisted the law was on their side. “What the Government’s trying to do is expand the amount of land that is available for housing. “It’s quite legitimate for us to do that,” Key said.
It’s legitimate to use land for housing – as long as legal requirements are met in the process.
He rejected claims the Government was trying to “circumvent” the iwi’s right of refusal.
Of course they are.
Smith said yesterday, that the Tamaki Redress Act, which gave effect to the first right of refusal collective, had a specific clause excluding land for housing purposes.
Key said the Government had sought legal advice before making its Budget announcement. The advice said provided there was a social purpose to the housing, that met the requirement of the law.
Here’s what Professor of Law Andrew Geddis has to say about that:
Now, of course, it may be that Nick Smith is thinking of trying to pull a swifty here. Maybe he’s thinking that once the Government says “we’re going to use this land of ours that was set aside for something else for housing”, then this immediately makes it into land “that is held for State housing purposes” as per s.136. All I can say to that line of thinking is … good luck getting it past a High Court judge on judicial review proceedings!
The Nats seem to be on very shaky ground indeed. A sensible course would be to open discussions with iwi. Charging ahead with the threat of legal action doesn’t seem likely to end well. It is the height of hubris.