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New Powers to Ministers to screw Iwi

Written By: - Date published: 10:19 am, July 2nd, 2015 - 25 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, assets, business, capitalism, Economy, housing, Maori Issues, pasifika, poverty, privatisation, uncategorized - Tags:

The Social Housing Reform (Transaction Mandate) Bill allows designated Ministers to sell off state houses. Currently Housing New Zealand has no such power. Interestingly however, this Government could introduce a Bill with criteria to enable sales to be signed off by the CE of Housing New Zealand but instead they are seeking that power for themselves.

Phil Twyford (Labour Party) may be over stepping by using the C word (corruption) and thereby giving a diversion to this government and its supporters for ridicule, but what is possible is that through lobbying, future Minister’s could invoke the power for the benefit of a few rather than the many, or themselves (indirectly – I am thinking Oravida type help).

Twyford stated:

“They’re basically clearing the deck of anything that could get in the way of selling these houses,” he said.

“This bill puts ministers above the law. There is a good reason ministers are supposed to be at arm’s length, and that checks and balances are in place. This bill is a charter for corruption at a time when these ministers are planning to hock off billions of dollars of public assets.”

It does seem to have appeared out of the blue. But to be a Bill already, it must have been some time in the drafting so has been in the wings for a wee while, if only since the announcement of the sales to charities and other community organisations.

Fairfax is reporting of the Government (Paula Bennett) that:

It also seeks to amend other legislation to ensure that land vested in Housing New Zealand which was acquired under the Public Works Act does not have to be offered back to the original owners.

The Government has said that it will sell up to 2000 state homes this year to community providers – which will continue to offer social housing – and says it will reinvest funds in areas that need more social housing.

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett’s bill would give ministers the power to enter into contracts on behalf of Housing NZ or its subsidiaries.

A disclosure statement on the bill written by Treasury describes the powers as unusual, comparing it to a “private law power of attorney”.

My bold reveals the fishhook. Now, The Maori Party will be pretty upset about this because it attempts to circumvent Iwi buy-back rights through legislation? Right? Remember when the Seabed and Foreshore Legislation was used to override a Court decision about customary title? The Maori Party was formed. It’s President, Naida Glavish is Ngati Whatua.

The fishhook itself is here:

50I Application of Public Works Act 1981

(1)Nothing in sections 40 to 42 of the Public Works Act 1981 applies to land to be (or that may be) transferred, or to interests in land to be (or that may be) granted, under a transfer contract.

(2)Subsection (1) applies despite the powers exercised (and exercisable) by the Minister under this Part.

(3)Nothing in subsection (1) limits section 27(4A) of the Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters Act 1992.

Facilitation and implementation of social housing transactions

50J Objectives of Corporation for this Part

(1)The Corporation’s principal objectives for this Part are to facilitate the transaction process and to facilitate and implement social housing transactions.

(2)The principal objectives for this Part prevail over the Corporation’s other objectives.

So far I cannot find any comment from the Maori Party – their 2014 Housing Policy is here.

Secondly, they are seeking to provide legislative interpretation of “social housing”. It appears to be intended to cut off at the pass any Court challenge base don its meaning. 50D contains the new definition

50D Meaning and relevance of social housing reform objectives

(1)The social housing reform objectives are any 1 or more of the following:

(a)people who need housing support can access it and receive social services that meet their needs:
(b)social housing is of the right size and configuration, and in the right areas, for households that need it:
(c)social housing tenants are helped to independence, as appropriate:
(d)there is more diverse ownership or provision of social housing:
(e)there is more innovation and more responsiveness to social housing tenants and communities:
(f)the supply of affordable housing is increased, especially in Auckland.

It’s all about transactions baby. Transactions, not people. Not really.

UPDATE: Comments from Ms Turei here about transparency and the lack of a trtack record in that with this Government. Ms Bennett’s reassurances. Also a reminder that Horizon (Australian charity) is only looking at 500 houses. The government is flogging 2-3000

 

 

25 comments on “New Powers to Ministers to screw Iwi”

  1. dukeofurl 1

    Not only does the idiot Smith, who cant find a piece of crown land even if its in his back pocket, get to be ‘land agent in chief’ but they write it into law that ‘diversity of ownership’ is a laudable social housing policy.

  2. Adrian 2

    In any other country in the world the populace would be up in arms.
    Interestingly even Mike Hoskings, ( yes, that Mike Hoskings ) in this mornings Granny Herald thinks all this may be a bridge too far.

    • SARAH 2.1

      If we had great opposition, who in the past were the organisers of this type of protest, we the silent masses would be marching from all ends of the country. Without co-ordination we have a few here and a few there as with the TPPA protests.
      If only….

  3. Charles 3

    “It does seem to have appeared out of the blue. But to be a Bill already, it must have been some time in the drafting so has been in the wings for a wee while, if only since the announcement of the sales to charities and other community organisations.”

    Oh dear oh dear. I don’t have the exact dates to hand, but even in general terms if what you’re suggesting is true, then when this first “became public” (yay for the media interested in the “public good” NOT) and the timeline of events, things were already really wierdly dodgy:

    The earliest date of this bill being formed is 25 March, 2015.

    1) The media supported/covered up an illegal/”corrupt” action by the government (Is it inconcieveable they didn’t know the order of events before they ran the first story? They are journalists, right? Then they have a legal obligation to know the basics.)

    2) The Maori Party assisted a feigned racial attack on both themselves and their people. That is some … cray cray… right there. Because their publicised warning shot across National’s bow (June 3, 2015) came well after the bill was well into being in existence and we’re to believe they didn’t know, just like the journo’s above. There are ways to explain that away, if we’re feeling generously understanding, but personally I’d just reaffirm that The Maori Party are a small subset of a much larger “Maori people” in general, and leave it there.

    3) The Nats were always going to use this tactic. It was obvious, they’ve done it before – if you can’t negotiate and win, change the law so you don’t need to negotiate, but that they had assistence from unlikely sources… WTF.

    The Fourth Estate is now officially the Fifth Column. Point 1 makes me mad, point 2 makes me sad, and point 3, that’s bad.

    • Hateatea 3.1

      Given that this is A National policy would other parties have seen it while in gestation? It doesn’t seem in keeping with NACT modus operandi on other contentious issues that they think they have the votes for.

      The Maori Party doesn’t normally advocate on specific iwi lines as individual iwi can take judicial action either one by one or in a collective.

      I would be unsurprised if this became an urgent hearing matter for the Waitangi Tribunal as that is empowered to deal with ‘new’ treaty breaches by the Crown.

      Time will tell.

  4. Ad 4

    These are precisely the Command and Control powers the next Housing Minister is going to need to address the housing crisis.

    Twyford should get his complaining out of the way now, but then watch and learn how to operate those same levers. For different policy goals. He’s going to need them.

    • dukeofurl 4.1

      You mean just the sort of ‘command and control’ that Ceausescu had ?

      • Ad 4.1.1

        More like just for starters:
        – Prime Minister Richard Seddon’s Workers Dwellings Act
        – Walter Nash and John A Lee undertaking the greatest civil works and housing build New Zealand has seen
        – Robert C. Weaver’s powers as Seretary of Housing and Urban Development under Roosevelt, and from the other side of the political spectrum;
        – Robert Menzies in Australia getting home ownership to 75% of the entire population

        Bennett gets it.

  5. McFlock 5

    The wider point is that this government is normalising the idea that there’s no point in entering into a contract with the government: they’ll just change the law so that they don’t have to honour it.

    Returning land to the previous owners under the public works act is there to stop exactly this: the state stealing land using the PWA, then flogging it cheap to themselves or their mates.

    “Corruption” is a very good word for what the bastards are enabling now. To be fair, I’m not sure they realise the importance – it’s probably just legislating-by-immediate-convenience again.

  6. Sabine 6

    Good Grief, at what stage will people understand that effectively this current National Government doe not give a flying shite about the Public, the News and its stenographer, the grey eminences that pontificate so much, and the law.

    This country has been overtaken by Men/Women that will sell any asset and introduce private ownership aka corporations to run business and of course to employ the politicians that made it all possible.
    This bill would have been written up before they ever mentioned the phrase Social Housing Provider. They could not get the Sally or other NZ entities to play ball so now they are not even pretending anymore.

    But hey, Look there will be a new Flag, a cycleway was just announced by the Greens/National and Labour is sending petitions. NZ First is squabbling about leadership, and the Maori Party is missing in action.

    This country will get what it deserves.

  7. Tom Gould 7

    Screw iwi? Don’t forget the taxpayers who own them and the tenants who rent them. This government is now so inherently corrupt they no longer know when they are doing it.

  8. It is stuff like this that makes us need a constitution or other such higher legal authority upon which dodgy legislation like this can be challenged and thrown out

  9. ianmac 10

    Whenever Ministers are challenged to explain some problem with a Ministry they say no comment. That is a management issue.
    Now they have effectively taken over the management for themselves. Hypocrisy?

    I imagine that this has been planned by National as they believe there will be little public backlash in defence of State House poor people.

    • Jenny Kirk 10.1

      That graph DukeofFurl put up shows this is an on-going policy from all National Govts – to sell off state housing. They really do not want to help ordinary NZers into any housing – what absolute sods they are !

  10. sabine 11

    question: would this allow the Minister of Conservation to open up Doc Land for sale? Or Parks to be sold for development?
    Or public beaches to be sold to tourism operators etc.

  11. gsays 12

    this regime reminds me of helen clarks government in its last term.
    there was a perception of arrogance with the last labour government.

    the current government thinks it can stick it to the maori and get away with it. (foreshore and seabed bill anyone?)

    i just hope their internal polling says this is a good move and to continue full steam ahead.

  12. RedBaronCV 13

    And what a wonderful precedent so that we can change the rules and boot out serco, vodafone, banks, insurers, etc etc

  13. Smilin 14

    Even the dogs dont want this country, this is way past them
    An emotive driven brainless govt with not a clue on what is unique about what makes this country NZ .We use to be a country driven by reason.
    Can we load a boat called Traitors and sail it off with this govt to Paradise Key on his Pacific Is cause we dont need him and co on this one

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