The Government’s Auckland Housing policy fiasco grows

Written By: - Date published: 7:59 am, June 16th, 2015 - 20 comments
Categories: housing, john key, Maori Issues, national, same old national - Tags:


Yesterday John Key spent most of the day saying that the Crown’s legal advice was sound, and that as it wanted to use the land for social housing it did not have to offer the land to Iwi under the treaty settlement reached with Ngāti Whātua and Waikato-Tainui amongst others.

This morning the Herald has reported that one of the pieces of land which Nick Smith showed reporters on his magical mystery bus tour had actually been offered back to Iwi.

From the Herald:

One of the surplus land holdings in Auckland shown off to journalists in May as available for the Government’s affordable housing partnership with private developers had already been offered to iwi under right of first refusal, the Heraldhas learned.

The limited partnership to which it had been offered comprises, in part, Ngati Whatua, which Prime Minister John Key claims has no right of offer of first refusal.

Ngati Whatua and Waikato-Tainui confirmed last night that they would ask the High Court to clarify the Crown’s interpretation of right of first refusal.

Mr Key said at his post cabinet press conference yesterday that there was no existing case on which Ngati Whatua could go to court to test the principle of right of first refusal.

But surplus land in Moire Rd, East Massey, which was in the process of being disposed of may provide a case.

Is this yet another case of Key over stating the Government’s position?  He was quoted yesterday as saying:

The government is very sure of its legal position, and that is it’s quite entitled to use existing government land for a stated government purpose, which in this case is the provision of housing. We’ve done this before, it’s not new …

We don’t think the government wanting to provide housing on existing government land triggers a right of first refusal.”

And you have to wonder why the Government would claim that it does not legally have to give Iwi an option when that is precisely what it has already done with regards to one of the pieces of land.

Maybe this is another example of Key’s claim that with lawyers he can always provide one that holds a contrary view.  Maybe this is further evidence of Smith’s incompetence and his failure to be on top of the issues.  It certainly makes you wonder at Key’s claim yesterday that the plans for the four developments was “conceptual“.


20 comments on “The Government’s Auckland Housing policy fiasco grows”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Perhaps this is why the Centre Right is so convinced that government is inefficient: whenever they’re in government they create a monumental clusterfuck.

    • Kiwiri 1.1

      Yup. This is why the centre and off-centre kooky right is so convinced that it can’t do much that is beneficial, that government has to be shrunk to stay really small, and that outsourcing and handing things to the public sector to do stuff is the answer.

  2. Skinny 2

    It is an insult to Maori that National wax lyrical about settling treaty claims. Both Iwi groups have every right to feel tucked in, and Key adds salt to the wound by basically sighting check the ‘fine print.’ Not only does National trying welching on the deal they throw in a dirty dog whistle that Maori are stalling the Auckland housing build.

    I note Hooton could smell a dead rat on RNZ yesterday and he had no hesitation calling

    • Tracey 2.1

      that’s cos rats understand each other and he is on the payroll of the iwi now

      • Skinny 2.1.1

        No I will credit Hooton as holding to his principals and calling the Nat’s out.

        • Kiwiri

          ‘principals’ indeed. follow the money and you know who he is agent for.

  3. Charles 3

    So what is Issac Davidson implying?

    “That “we” (staunch Herald readers) already offered, earlier, so how can we be expected to offer it again later? Once should be enough to assume we offered everything and anything once, at any future time, without saying anything.”

    That J.Key is the ass talking, when the mouth and brain should be in charge?

    “That J.Key is right, even though he’s wrong, so don’t panic mindless supporters… because someone nearby knows the basic gist of the job better than him so really it means he’s doing just fine, even though his mouth just won’t close.”

    Developers overstepped their authority, imitating to be agents of the Crown when they weren’t, because the Crown was too busy sucking back Latté and tugging waitresses hair?

    That IwI Groups involved know the simple process, but Pakeha culture once again too dim and malicious to want to do what freely they enforced on Iwi, for fear of having to slow down a bit and be humans again, thus becoming “unpopular” with pakeha.

    I suspect Issac is saying none of that. I don’t understand Whitese anymore, too much is implied, not enough is clearly stated, nothing is in good faith, especially the gibberish that comes from the Herald.

  4. Sacha 4

    Where did the Housing Minister get his legal advice from?

    • mickysavage 4.1

      I wish I knew. It feels like one of those matters where you blunder from disaster to disaster and keep firefighting so that new disasters arise.

      National must be deeply worried because the impression of incompetence is one of the most powerful political weapons there are.

      • dukeofurl 4.1.1

        Competance ? We are way past that as Northland showed.

        Its now down to them telling a complete pack of lies. Its a banana republic thats all banana skin.

        THis may be their rat run out of here ?

        “The advantage of his ministry owning the land was that the prospective developer was likely not to have to pay for the land until the houses were sold.”

        This would be staggering as developers just cream any price increase while development consents/construction occurs.

        Is there any capacity for earthworks as Im sure the major players have the summer all booked up now.

      • tc 4.1.2

        Smith is a liability with a track record of making shit up and a contempt for due process…climate change, ACC and the pullar affair now this.

        Let’s wade ankle deep across the NACT ministerial talent pool, a half decent MSM would have eviscerated him by now rather than our lot of compliant lap dogs.

    • Incognito 4.2

      Steven Joyce told Nick that it was pretty legal.

  5. Reddelusion 5

    What’s the big deal here sure it’s not a perfect plan but as they say perfection is often an excuse for procrastination, I think hemmingway said the first draft of any thing is shit, a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week ( George Patton ) . There are so many self interest groups re Auckland property including that fool twyford the nats just need to get on with it and ignor naysayer like Twyford and mickey Out in the real world that’s what people are seeing, national getting on with a complex problem, not perfect but making a start, good on them

    • mickysavage 5.1

      You are right that it is not a perfect plan. In fact it is some of the most appalling politics I have seen for a while. Just think of this:

      1. the policy was leaked early;
      2. some of the land was occupied by power substations and cemeteries;
      3. it turned out that the Government did not actually have the 500 hectares promised;
      4. some of the land was not even owned by the Crown;
      5. it turned out the Government could not sell the land without giving iwi first dibs; and,
      6. it turns out the Government has already given iwi first dibs to the land on Moire Road, and the whole thing is going to wind up in court

      So what is there to celebrate?

    • tc 5.2

      Until they address foreign ownership, capital gains and other speculator measures on residential property they address nothing by tinkering in a very minor way with the supply side even if they built all the BS numbers which they can’t.

      It’s not complex at all but then I can see from your ‘logic’ how this is a very hard one for you to grasp.

  6. Reddelusion 6

    It’s a start Micky, function follows form, I guess we can just sit back and do nothing I can’t understand why your so exercised about this, no one has been hurt, they need to address the Iwi issue, a bit embarrassing I admit but this will just force them to do better, at least their moving, no one can deny freeing up vacant land is a good idea, as with anything ideas are easy, execution is hard, sometimes you just need to start with an agile plan and get on with it

  7. Reddelusion 7

    TC asking forgeiners to supply a bank account and IRD number ( which according to nbr is definitely damping demand out of China) establishing a bright line rule on properties sold in two years, is not this going some way in addressing the problem. I am afraid the problem is complex by definition, many vested interest groups with competing interests and property and their values has and impact on many other parts of our economy , good and bad

    • tc 7.1

      Nothing some tough laws wouldnt sort out but the horse has bolted under NACTs watch and I take the NBR comment with a large grain of salt.

      I get the ‘people find a ways around laws ‘ line a lot lately, a Crosby textor meme probably, which is a weak excuse for doing nothing.

  8. DS 8

    I happen to have detailed knowledge of ownership of the Massey land, previously a farm owned for 27 years by a farmer who worked extremely hard and out of scrub and bush fenced 9 paddocks and made a road through the farm. Before him his family owned it, all in all for about 150 years handed down in one family. Only other development was one or two raupo huts and a settlers cottage. The law actually gives right of refusal to the immediately previous owner (the farmer sold it to men who were developers who sold it to the Education Dept). Why should iwi have rights over the settlers and their incredibly hard work they contributed?

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