Crown land release info coming this week

Further details about the Auckland Crown land to be released for development are set to be announced - to developers - this Friday.

Thursday, May 28th 2015, 12:00AM

by Miriam Bell

In recent days, there have been increasingly wild claims about exactly what Crown Land will be released.

Housing Minister Nick Smith has been forced to publicly deny claims that people could end up living on top of cemeteries, school playing fields and on pylons.

He told media that the government owns about 150,000 hectares of land in Auckland and the plan was to identify 500 hectares that would be suitable for development.

“That amounts to less than half of one percent.”

Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said Housing Minister Nick Smith should release the list of Crown land parcels which formed the basis of the government’s plans.

“The minister needs to categorically rule out that the government is looking at building houses on electricity substations, school playing fields, cemeteries, fire stations, and operational defence training facilities.”

However, the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment is set to launch the programme of work to develop housing on Auckland Crown land this Friday.

Smith said that he had committed to announcing the first blocks of land to interested developers on Friday at the launch and he intended to keep to that.

The launch is intended to enable the government to outline the programme and to give developers the opportunity to participate in the procurement process.

The formal procurement process begins in June.

Meanwhile, NZ Property Investors Federation executive officer Andrew King said the government Crown land programme was for developers more than investors.

“Developers get the land, don’t have to pay for it upfront, build on it and then don’t have to pay till the property is sold – which mitigates a big risk for them.”

The programme should encourage developers to build more houses, which Auckland needs, he said.

“As long as the land is truly surplus to requirements and isn’t the sort of green space which communities need for environmental ambience, then it could all work.”

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