New Zealand Labour Party

Documents depict Crown land sell-off chaos

New documents show the Government’s Budget centrepiece policy of selling off surplus Crown land for Auckland housing was a disaster from the start – and one it was warned against, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

“The Treasury’s Budget documents released today show this policy was so rushed it wasn’t even put forward until after the Budget moratorium began, meaning Nick Smith risked not having it included in the May Budget.

“The Housing Minister was only given $52 million of the $120 million he requested from Cabinet. The Treasury advised against even that amount because it couldn’t assess how much the land would cost to transfer from different departments or release from First Right of Refusal provisions.

“Nick Smith was warned that much of this land was subject to these Treaty provisions, yet bizarrely he still picked a fight with Auckland iwi over it.

“These documents also show only 100 hectares of Crown land currently zoned for residential housing could be identified for sale, a far cry from the 500 hectares Nick Smith originally promised.

“The Treasury documents prove what Labour has suspected all along – this plan was rushed and ill-conceived,” Phil Twyford says.