Simon Collins is the Herald’s social issues reporter.

Iwi filling in housing gaps

Auckland tribe take possession of development site, while iwi collective miss bid deadline.
John Key and Nick Smith were at the handover of the Hobsonville block. Photo / Brett Phibbs
John Key and Nick Smith were at the handover of the Hobsonville block. Photo / Brett Phibbs

An Auckland iwi has bought a block of Crown land at Hobsonville to build 430 homes - but iwi have failed to bid for the next block offered in nearby Massey.

Prime Minister John Key and Housing Minister Nick Smith attended the handover of the 9ha Hobsonville block yesterday to Ngati Whatua o Kaipara, which had first right of refusal on the land under a 2013 Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

But a collective of 13 iwi, which negotiated last year to be given first option to develop other surplus Crown land for housing across much of Auckland, has failed to bid for the first property offered under the deal, a 9.9ha block at 81-89 Moire Rd in Massey.

Dr Smith said that block would now be offered to the first company in a panel of developers selected to build low-density housing on Crown land.

"MBIE [Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment] has made good progress on the selection process for the three panels for low-, medium- and high-density developments," he said.

"We should be in a position within a week or two to be able to announce those preferred development partners."

The process of releasing Crown land for housing has been fraught since last year's Budget allocated $52 million to buy 500ha of surplus land from other Crown agencies for housing. Dr Smith said yesterday that the $52 million would be spent by the end of this financial year in June but was never intended to finance the entire 500ha.

Ngati Whatua o Kaipara investment committee chairwoman Anita Mazzoleni said her tribe had committed "a reasonable chunk" of its $22 million 2013 cash settlement to buy the Hobsonville block.

Thirty per cent of the houses there will be sold at or below the KiwiSaver HomeStart loan maximum price of $550,000 and 50 per cent will be priced between that and the Auckland median price (currently $820,000).

Iwi development company chief executive Daniel Clay said his iwi was also negotiating to buy a larger 18ha Crown block at Brigham Creek Rd on the northern side of State Highway 18 near Whenuapai.

Rob Hutchison, head of Ngati Whatua o Orakei's commercial arm, said his iwi and others were keen to develop the $5.4 million Moire Rd land but the 13-iwi collective could not decide which iwi would put in a bid before the April 14 deadline.

He said the iwi hoped to agree on a process in time for the next land up for offer, which is expected to be either a 0.37ha block in New North Rd, Mt Albert, or a $5.7 million site at 1550 Great North Rd, Waterview, currently used by the Hebron Mission to house 25 students, refugees and migrants.

- NZ Herald

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