Another embarrassing climb down in Crown land saga

The Government has done another embarrassing climb down in the ongoing saga of its Auckland Crown land policy, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.

“Labour understands the Government yesterday confirmed to Waikato-Tainui that it does have Right of First Refusal – only hours after the Prime Minister stated the opposite.

“The Prime Minister and Nick Smith have been denying that iwi have the Right of First Refusal for two weeks now. Was John Key badly advised by his Housing Minister or is this a desperate last-ditch effort to stop the matter going to court?

“It’s just the latest humiliation in the comedy of errors that passes for National’s housing policy.

“The Government’s Budget centrepiece has been a shambles from the word go. Because of Nick Smith’s bungling incompetence, Aucklanders look likely to be denied thousands of much needed houses.

“National initially promised to make 500 hectares available but John Key has admitted that was just a ‘guesstimate’. Nick Smith unveiled four sites to journalists and property developers but it turns out one of them isn’t even owned by the Government. The Prime Minister now says those sites were ‘conceptual’.

“Nick Smith is clearly not up to the job of Housing Minister. It is time John Key relieved him of his portfolio,” Andrew Little says.