Iwi Want Court Ruling On Crown Land Sales

On 15 June 2015, two major North Island Iwi say they will test the Government’s Auckland housing plans in the High Court. Ngati Whatua claims it had the right of first refusal over Crown land sales. (Guess whether or not the taxpayer will foot the legal costs bill?)

Our major Treaty Settlement Acts provide us with a right of first refusal when the government plans to privatise land, and these rights will endure well into the 22nd century, Waikato-Tainui’s Tukoroirangi (underpants) Morgan and Ngati Whatua’s Ngarimu Blair’s joint statement said.

However, on 24 June, Minister for Treaty Negotiations Chris Finlayson said that I’ve had very fruitful discussions, most recently this morning with Waikato-Tainui, and I’d certainly hope if anyone had a concern . . . I’d hope they came to me first.

Finlayson said Iwi had been spoken to and as a result of the discussions we’ve had I think everyone understands the position, there were no court proceedings under way and the Iwi are keen to move on.

But in the on-again, off-again way these things muddle along, on 26 June Ngatu Whatua filed a statement of claim in the High Court. The iwi has claimed that it has the right of first refusal over Crown land. While the Government disputes this, saying it is allowed to develop its land to sell it for housing, ministers have attempted to negotiate a deal to avoid a court hearing. “Ngati Whatua is working closely with the Government to get more houses built,” spokesman Ngarimu Blair said in the statement.

How filing court action against an entity comes to be working closely with it,  is anyone’s guess. Dot, dot, dot . . . .