Topic: Housing

Housing Minister says read the fine print

By Maiki Sherman
  • Auckland
  • Wellington

Housing Minister Nick Smith has poured cold water over public anguish at iwi missing out on their right to first refusal regarding the sale of crown-owned land.

Smith says there's a specific provision in the Tāmaki Collective Redress Act which states the Crown can sell surplus land for housing purposes. However, the opposition claim the Government is simply using tricky ways to work its deal.

Nick Smith had one thing to say - read the fine print.

"I'm absolutely confident that the steps that we have taken in consulting with iwi and with the announcements we made last week are consistent with the law," Smith says.

However, the Tāmaki Collective says it's more complex than that.

They want to meet with the government to learn more information, despite the minister saying his officials met with the Tāmaki Collective a month ago.

The opposition says the government is being tricky.

Green Party co-leader, Metiria Turia adds that "Ngāti Whātua have the first right of refusal, the Government is wrong to find tricky ways of getting out of that deal." 

Te Ururoa Flavell says he's asked the Government to explain.  "I have written to the Prime Minister objecting the path they're taking and supporting Ngāti Whatua. If the Government follows this path it will have implications for iwi across the country."

Willie Te Aho of the Iwi Chairs Forum also says the move by Government breaches the provision that the Crown would act in "good faith".

It seems court action could be on the cards.