In 2012, the Government promised Auckland Maori that they would have first dibs on any new housing developments on its land. So why aren't they involved at all in Nick Smith's 500 hectare vision?
Further to my previous post on the Government's housing plans for Auckland and the problem that iwi and hapū rights under the Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Redress Act 2014 may cause, my attention has been drawn to the following matters.
When the Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Redress Deed was signed back in 2012, it contained a "Property Redress Schedule" (you can see it in PDF here, from p.21 on). And that Schedule contained a specific "Department of Building and Housing Protocol", which is at p.46 of that document.
Under that Protocol, the Crown agreed that:
If the Crown intends to:
7.1.1 develop land it owns that is subject to the [right of first refusal] RFR to achieve, or assist in achieving, the Crown’s social objectives in relation to housing or services related to housing; and
7.1.2 involve a party other than the Crown (including a private buyer or Crown body) in that development,
the Department [of Building and Housing] shall first provide the [iwi and hapū's] limited partnership the opportunity to be the developer, subject to meeting the intended Crown social objectives in relation to housing or services related to housing, and on such terms as might be offered to the private sector.
Which the Department just hasn't done. So, on the face of it, the Government's announced plans are a breach of the agreement it made in its settlement deed with the Tāmaki Makaurau Collective only three years ago.
Having said that, there's a further complicating factor. The Protocol goes on to say:
The Crown will endeavour in good faith to provide the limited partnership with the opportunities set out in this protocol. The Crown reserves the right to trigger the RFR exception or transfer land to a Crown body without first making an offer under this protocol in circumstances where:
7.1.3 achievement of Crown’s social objectives in relation to housing or services related to housing in the opinion of the Department would be frustrated in whole or in part by exercising the protocol; and/or
7.1.4 Crown’s social objectives in relation to housing or services related to housing would be achieved, but applying the protocol would substantially increase cost or reduce efficiency for the Crown.
So it isn't the case that under this Protocol the Crown must in every case give the iwi and hapū's limited partnership the first chance to be the developers of housing on Crown land in Auckland. But, by the same token, can the Government possibly be acting in "good faith" by making a sweeping decision that the iwi and hapū's limited partnership is not to have first dibs on any of the 500 hectares of Crown land that is allegedly being made available for new housing? Without, it should be noted, apparently even informing the iwi and hapū's limited partnership that it is intending embark on this new policy?
For how would allowing the iwi and hapū's limited partnership to be the developer of any of the housing "frustrate" the Government's plans? What evidence does the Department have that allowing the iwi and hapū's limited partnership to be a developer would "substantially increase the cost or reduce efficiency"? Is there a paper trail to show that the Department carefully considered these matters before announcing the policy and had good grounds for reaching such conclusions? How could those conclusions be reached without having talked with the iwi and hapū's limited partnership at all?
Interesting questions. Let's see what answers come of them.