Using surplus Crown lands for social housing purposes could see iwi locked out of being a provider of affordable housing while overseas property developers get a head start, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.
“In response to questions in Parliament today Nick Smith tried to point to the re-designation of Papakura and Hobsonville – he forgot to say that this was done before the Tamaki Collective Settlement where rights of first refusal obligations to iwi like Ngati Whatua are critical.
“The Minister continues to deny that the interests of Ngati Whatua have been affected.
“Labour is aware that iwi have expressed an interest in the provision of affordable housing. This should be applauded by the Government but instead iwi are being treated with contempt by the Minister.
“Should this matter go to the courts, the real issue is whether the Government can circumvent right of first refusal provisions in any Treaty settlement.
“Nick Smith’s lack of regard for Treaty settlements highlights an inability to uphold such important agreements.
“The Minister has failed to get on top of the Auckland housing issue and he is stomping on the interests of iwi, first home buyers and taxpayers on the way through.
“There are many words for the Ministers actions – incompetent fits this latest bungle best,“ says Nanaia Mahuta.