18 Dec 2020

Ihumātao land will be used for housing - Grant Robertson

From Morning Report, 7:22 am on 18 December 2020

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has vowed the land at Ihumātao will be used for housing.

The government yesterday agreed to buy the land from Fletcher Building for just under $30 million - with a commitment for housing to be built on the site.

Robertson told Morning Report from the government perspective the land, which contains some category 1 heritage land, could hold some sensitive housing alongside cultural and heritage aspects.

He's not accepting the possibility housing would not be built on the land though.

"We've pitched it under the land for housing programme and so there will be housing as a result of that," he said.

"If, as a result of the discussions that take place, the balance between housing and other aspects, culture and heritage aspects, changes then we would have to look again at the funding that lies behind that. But from our perspective, it's been purchased for the purpose of housing."

He also wouldn't entertain the idea the purchase would have an effect on treaty settlements.

"We've taken the decision on the basis of this unique set of circumstances that are here, and we're going to work that through with the people concerned.

It's very clear to us that this does not affect the Treaty settlement process. That's explicitly recognised in the memorandum of understanding.

"That distinguishes it, the way we've purchased it, the process we've set up and the history of the site. So, we're taking this as a unique situation, and we're looking forward to working through with the groups involved."