South Auckland land sale: 'The poor subsidising the wealthy'

9:03 am on 8 May 2019

South Auckland communities are angry a large part of the money from selling council land in their area is going to richer suburbs on the North Shore.

Otara Health chairperson Efeso Collins.

Ōtara Health chairperson Efeso Collins said the money could be spent on local health services Photo: RNZ / Jessie Chiang

The land, originally bought by the former Manukau City Council, will bring in $145 million.

Locals have been told they'll only get 60 percent while the other 40 percent will be used in places like Northcote and Takapuna.

The land is mostly being used as carparks at present and is in the process of being sold by the council's Panuku Development arm.

Revenue from the sale will be channelled into different projects across the city.

But Roy Kaunds from the Indian Association of Manukau said the money should stay put.

"It really doesn't sit well with us that assets will be sold from the poor part of Auckland and the money will be ploughed elsewhere. In one sense it's quite immoral to do that.

"The council...can spin it and they can give us facts and data and make it look like it's something good happening."

Roy Kaunds, Indian Association of Manukau assistant secretary.

Roy Kaunds said the money should stay in Manukau. Photo: RNZ / Jessie Chiang

Efeso Collins, the chair of Ōtara Health, said while the community was happy to share some of the revenue, 40 percent going to wealthier suburbs was hard to take.

"The disappointment is that so much of it is the poor subsidising the wealthy," he said.

Mr Collins said the money could be spent on local health services instead.

"The thinking needs to be what's going to serve Ōtara first and then what can we share with what's left over as opposed to work out a plan that doesn't really have our voice in it and then go off and split the money that way."

The Otara Papatoetoe Local Board supports sharing resources in the super city, including with more affluent suburbs, but chairperson Lotu Fuli said South Auckland needed its fair share.

The board would presenting its case today for receiving more of the sale money, she said.

"We just believe that we shouldn't have community facilities in our own local board area that are falling apart that we don't have enough money to fix the roofs of."

Lotu Fuli said the local board would also be advocating for Ōtara to be labelled a 'transform project' which meant the area would get a lot of backing.

In a statement, Panuku Development said it aimed to make the best use of any revenue from land sales.

"When we sell a site, the revenue generated is channelled into a pot from which we prioritise expenditure based on the best use of those funds," the statement said.

"This is as opposed to a specific area being promised it will retain all of the funds raised from the sale of assets in its location, which is a system that creates unfairness and imbalance."

It said it was still working out where exactly the money will go, and the 60-40 split may change.