25 Mar 2017

Labour 'supremely patronising' over iwi's housing plan

8:31 am on 25 March 2017

An Auckland iwi has accused the Labour Party of being condescending and patronising over a bill that would allow it to build 300 houses on a reserve.

The area in red will be used for new homes under the plan for the Port England Reserve development.

The area in red will be used for new homes under the plan for the Port England Reserve development. Photo: Supplied

Labour has withdrawn support for the Point England Development Enabling Bill that would allow the government to sell nearly 12ha of public land in east Auckland to Ngāti Pāoa as part of its Treaty settlement.

Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the bill was a short-sighted and ill-advised land grab that flew in the face of the local community's wishes.

He said the community needed the land for future generations.

"Once it is sold for housing it will be permanently lost to the public," he said.

Mr Twyford said opposing the bill was a tough call for Labour because of the party's strong support for treaty settlements.

"We support Ngāti Pāoa's aspirations here, but the National government has completely stuffed it up," Mr Twyford said.

"They could have offered Ngāti Pāoa land the government owns right next to the reserve that is now part of the Tamaki redevelopment.

"Instead they are grabbing park land against the wishes of the local community, which sets a dangerous precedent."

Ngāti Pāoa Iwi Trust chief executive Hauauru Rawiri said without the land there would be no Treaty settlement.

"By opposing the legislation, Labour is opposing a Treaty settlement bill for the first time in the history of the Treaty settlement process," Mr Rawiri said.

Labour was suggesting Ngāti Pāoa was being "duped" by the government to advance its housing programme.

"This is a supremely patronising and condescending attitude that reflects poorly on its proponents."

Mr Rawiri said the iwi deliberately sought the land for housing because it was close to its marae site.

He called Labour's stance hypocritical as it did not oppose the transfer of reserve land in Takapuna to a hapū five years ago as part of a Treaty settlement.

The argument other land was available was not true, he said.

"Tamaki Regeneration Company land is not Crown land and is not available for Treaty redress."

Mr Rawiri urged Labour's Māori electorate representatives to persuade their colleagues to reverse their position on the Bill - or vote in favour of the Bill anyway.

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