Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Govt Tried To Hide Ihumātao Link To Treaty Settlements

“Jacinda Ardern’s Government has been caught red-handed, saying one thing about potential Treaty of Waitangi implications of spending $30 million of taxpayers’ money to buy its way out of Ihumātao and trying to cover up the truth,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“When the deal was announced on 17 December Ministers were adamant this was a one-off deal that would have no implications on past or present Treaty of Waitangi settlement claims.

“The Government was warned from the get-go that if it butted into the Ihumātao issue – a dispute over private land – other iwi groups would inevitably feel that their full and final settlements with the Crown were neither full, nor final.

“Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said on Radio NZ on 18 December ‘It’s very clear to us that this does not affect the Treaty settlement process.’

“But the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development Cabinet paper that Ministers discussed on 14 December clearly states otherwise in two places, paragraphs 31 and 32:

  • ‘Crown Law and Te Arawhiti have been working through the Treaty implications of a purchase through the Land for Housing fund, and the use of the MOU to determine the future use of the land,’ and;
  • ‘This is due to the fact that the land is being purchased by an agency (whose land is not generally available for use in Treaty settlements) for a specific purpose (e.g. housing).’

“But you weren’t meant to know that. Those two passages were redacted to keep them secret from the public.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

“However, copying and pasting the PDF file of the Cabinet paper into a Word document removed the redactions.

“Another revelation from the redactions is that there may never actually be any housing on the Ihumātao site.

“Hidden paragraph 21 states [emphasis added] ‘Funds received from the sale of the land for housing or support for housing, or any other uses which are deemed to be more suitable than housing, will be returned to the Crown.’

“So despite the 17 December announcement saying ‘the parties have committed that there will be housing on the site,’ the advice says the new owner could decide not to build houses there.

“That’s very important, because this damning information follows yesterday’s revelation that Treasury advised against using Housing and Urban Development’s Land for Housing fund to buy the land off Fletchers because it was ‘at odds with Land for Housing’s intent, operating model, and scopes of related appropriations.’

“Treasury believes the Government’s auditors may decide the money used to buy the land at Ihumātao ‘does not fit within the appropriation scope and is unappropriated spend.’

“Indeed, if the new owners did determine the land was suitable for something other than housing Treasury would be proved more than right.

“The Land for Housing fund is money appropriated for Kiwibuild. Treasury advice was clear: using it for potential housing at Ihumātao was tenuous at best. If it’s not used for housing at all it will be more than tenuous, it will have been misappropriated.

“This sort of behaviour is expected of Governments far from here with fewer democratic rights and freedoms. It deserves much greater scrutiny.”

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Government’s Smokefree Laws Debacle

The most charitable explanation for National’s behaviour over the smokefree legislation is that they have dutifully fulfilled the wishes of the Big Tobacco lobby and then cast around – incompetently, as it turns out - for excuses that might sell this health policy U-turn to the public. The less charitable view is that the government was being deliberately misleading. Are we to think Prime Minister Christopher Luxon is a fool, or a liar? It seems rather early on in his term of office to be facing that unpleasant choice. Yet when Luxon (and senior MP Chris Bishop) tried to defend the indefensible with the same wildly inaccurate claim, there are not a lot of positive explanations left on the table.... More

Public Housing Futures: Christmas Comes Early For Landlords

New CTU analysis of the National & ACT coalition agreement has shown the cost of returning interest deductibility to landlords is an extra $900M on top of National’s original proposal. This is because it is going to be implemented earlier and faster, including retrospective rebates from April 2023. More

Green Party: Petition To Save Oil & Gas Ban

“The new Government’s plan to expand oil and gas exploration is as dangerous as it is unscientific. Whatever you think about the new government, there is simply no mandate to trash the climate. We need to come together to stop them,” says James Shaw. More

PSA: MFAT Must Reverse Decision To Remove Te Reo

MFAT's decision to remove te reo from correspondence before new Ministers are sworn in risks undermining the important progress the public sector has made in honouring te Tiriti. "We are very disappointed in what is a backward decision - it simply seems to be a Ministry bowing to the racist rhetoric we heard on the election campaign trail," says Marcia Puru. More




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.