Last week The Herald ran this interesting piece:
Rent to start flowing for iwi land
Thousands of tenants in Auckland’s CBD face rent rises from next year as hundreds of millions of dollars worth of waterfront land begins returning income to its Maori owners. Leasehold rent payments on the ex-railway land bounded by The Strand, Quay St and Beach Rd have been suspended since Ngati Whatua bought the 20ha block in 1996. But from August next year, the iwi will begin sending monthly bills to owners of valuable real estate …
The Ngati Whatua O Orakei Maori Trust Board’s chairman, Grant Hawke, said the leasehold income would be hugely beneficial, but urged caution so the rents did not look like “a gold rush” by iwi.
Ngati Whatua O Orakei’s corporate chief executive, Tiwana Tibble, said ground rent income would benefit the iwi’s approximately 5000 members. Education scholarships were a priority. …
“We’re not going to bend over and give huge discounts. We don’t see why we have to,” said Mr Tibble. But the iwis expect a backlash, declaring in the May edition of the newsletter E wawa ra that “there could be negative media coverage aimed at Ngati Whatua as landlords”.
Landlord charges market rent – would this be “news” if the owners were not Maori? Would the land owners be so apologetic if they were not Maori? Would a backlash be expected if the owners were not Maori? Rhetorical questions one and all. We still have a ways to go, don’t we.