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Iwi green lights Government’s Auckland land plans

An agreement between an Auckland iwi collective and the Government means a major roadblock in plans to release Crown-owned land for commercial housing development has been overcome.

Friday, September 4th 2015, 11:36AM

by Miriam Bell

Iwi will now have right of first refusal on the Crown land parcels offered up for commercial development – but that right is for development of the land, not purchase of the land.

Private sector developers will then be offered the land for development after iwi.

Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith said the agreement means that vacant public land can be used for housing development to ease Auckland’s supply shortage, while local Treaty settlements are still upheld.

The Housing Mahi Ngātahi Agreement sets out further ways for the Government and iwi to work together on common objectives in housing, Smith said.

“It includes a shared commitment for 20% of new houses delivered through the Auckland housing programme to be made available for purchase by community housing providers, and for a further 20% priced as affordable for first home buyers.”

The government is likely to maintain ownership of the land until it is sold on as completed houses.

It will also be able to specify requirements around the pace and type of development.

The Government announced its plans to release 500 hectares of vacant Crown-owned land for commercial housing development in the Budget. 

However, since then, the plan has run up against a number of obstacles – including legal action from local iwi who wanted to clarify whether they had first rights to buy the land being offered up.

The agreement means that those legal proceedings have now been dropped.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust’s deputy chair Ngarimu Blair said the agreement means more social and affordable housing will be built more quickly to address the Auckland housing issue.

“We look forward to facilitating the building of houses for our own people and for all Aucklanders, and this agreement will see that happen as quickly as commercially possible.”

Smith said assessment of potential sites, with a focus on those parcels of land with the capacity for 60 homes or more, is progressing.

Next up, the Government will issue an “Invitation to Partner” as it seeks private sector expertise with the capacity for delivering housing developments.

Individual projects may include iwi partners where they have taken up the opportunity, Smith said.

He is hopeful that the first development agreements will be in place this year and the first homes will be completed by the end of 2016.

“This programme is about delivering more homes for Auckland with a focus on growing the supply of affordable and social housing.”

*Read more about the Crown land development parcels revealed to date here

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