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Shabby Takapuna deal shows flawed Treaty process

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Shabby Takapuna deal shows flawed Treaty process

A row that has erupted over the sale of a $41.7 million block of prime Auckland waterfront land cheaply to Maori as part of a big treaty deal shows the sort of shabby unintended consequences that can result from a flawed attempt to right alleged historical wrongs, Mike Butler, Research Associate at the New Zealand Centre for Political Research , said today.

News reports indicate that the 3.2ha Takapuna Head site, used by the New Zealand Navy as an officer training school, is being sold back to Ngati Whatua for $13.8 million - but the iwi has been given freedom to do what it likes with the land. Auckland mayor Len Brown and Devonport-Takapuna local board chairman Chris Darby have complained.

If the valuation of the Takapuna Head land and improvements totals $41.7 million, and if Ngati Whatua o Orakei may buy it for $13.8 million, the tribe is being given $27.9 million of equity in this deal, which far exceeds the official total financial redress for the tribe of $18 million plus interest. This $18 million includes $2 million already received through the railways settlement in 1993, plus a 172-year right-of-first-refusal over surplus Crown properties in the Auckland area.

What is more, the government is prepared to trash the reserve status of the land along with the rights of the community, to give iwi a valuable property that they 'want'.

"This deal either is shoddy accounting or a shabby sweetheart deal. It is the sort of thing that became inevitable once successive governments offered to pay cash for grievances. The treaty settlements process is fatally flawed", Butler said.

ends

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