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Proposal for Crown asset use at Massey University


Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister for Tertiary Education

29 October 2008
Embargoed until noon Media Release
Proposal for Crown asset use at Massey University


The government has agreed in-principle to a Massey University request for more control over two Crown assets it uses, Tertiary Education Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

“The two assets involved are the Blair Tennant residential hall in Palmerston North and the College of Education at Hokowhitu,” Pete Hodgson said.

“The government has agreed to start a process to sell the Blair Tennant residential hall, and reinvest the proceeds in the university. It has also agreed in-principle to begin a process to enable the transfer of the current site of the College of Education into Massey University ownership. This transfer of ownership would allow the university to determine the future use of the Hokowhitu site.

“The proposal has been under consideration since 2006 and follows other similar suggestions from other tertiary institutions, for example, earlier this year the government agreed to sell the Prosser Street property occupied by Whitireia Community Polytechnic and reinvest the proceeds back into the polytechnic.

“Potentially the proposal will bring about more efficient use of Crown assets and provide Massey University with more certainty and control over sites it already occupies,” he said.

The government was working within the existing framework for the sale and transfer of Crown assets which involves consultation with Maori and previous landowners to ensure the protection of their interests.

All decisions would be in-principle, and the actual transactions would go through normal processes with existing protections and clearances.

--


Questions and Answers: Proposal for Crown asset use at Massey University

What is proposed?

The government has agreed in principle to commence a process to sell the Blair Tennant residential hall, occupied by Massey University in Palmerston North, and reinvest the proceeds in the university. This will bring about more efficient use of Crown assets as the property no longer serves an educational purpose for the university or the government.

The government has also agreed in-principle to commence the process to transfer the current site of the College of Education at Hokowhitu into Massey University ownership. This will provide Massey University more certainty and control over sites they already occupy.


Why does Massey need more control over the Hokowhitu property; what is Massey planning to do once the property is transferred into its ownership?

This proposal will give Massey more certainty and control over property that it already occupies. Massey is actively using the Hokowhitu property for a range of educational activities, including the College of Education.


What happens from here?

The government is working within the existing framework for the sale and transfer of Crown assets. All decisions are in-principle, and the actual transactions will go through normal processes with existing protections and clearances. This process may take six months or longer. Massey University will act as the Crown’s agent for these transactions. The Ministry of Education is currently developing a Memorandum of Understanding with Massey to finalise these arrangements.


How will other potential interests in the land be protected?

As a first step, the land proposed for disposal will be offered back to previous owners.

To ensure potential Maori interests are protected, both properties will be submitted to the Office of Treaty Settlements (OTS) for assessment under the Maori Protection Mechanism and Te Puni Kokiri’s Sites of Significance process. The Office of Treaty Settlements will advertise these properties as part of its usual processes, including mailing to all Treaty of Waitangi claimants on the OTS database. If claimants have an interest in these properties, they can apply to have them landbanked. All applications are then considered by relevant Ministers, to decide whether each property should be protected by landbanking or released for transfer or disposal.

The Secretary for Education will be engaging with the local iwi, Rangitaane o Manawatu, to ensure iwi views on the proposal are taken into account in the later stages of the process, through the mechanisms that are in place to protect their interests.


Is the government considering other similar transactions?

The Government will continue to consider any Crown asset transfer or disposal proposals on a case by case basis as they are raised by the sector.

Government has agreed to proposals similar to the approach for Blair Tennant in the past. For example, earlier this year the government agreed to sell the Prosser Street property occupied by Whitireia Community Polytechnic and reinvest the proceeds back into the polytechnic.


ENDS

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