An Opposition MP has asked why the Government's biggest KiwiBuild project is beside the country's most secure mental health facility, home to the most dangerous criminals and those not convicted of crimes because of insanity.
Judith Collins, opposition housing spokesperson, asked why Housing Minister Phil Twyford had announced the Government's biggest affordable housing project beside the Mason Clinic.
"The patients at the Mason Clinic must be a priority to any Government. At the same time, there needs to be full disclosure to potential purchasers," she said of the need to talk to buyers keen on 3000 to 4000 new residences.
On March 25, Twyford said the land at Unitec's Mt Albert campus - 9km from Auckland's CBD - would be transferred from Unitec to the Crown with the intention of building a community of between 3000 to 4000 homes.
No mention was made of the Mason Clinic which houses people either convicted of serious criminal offending, or found not guilty by reason of insanity but detained as a patient by the courts.
"There will be a mix of affordable KiwiBuild homes for first-home buyers, public housing and open market houses. This is a beautiful and historic piece of land with natural features such as the Oakley stream running through it. It's close to education, employment and public transport. This new community will have open spaces, new parks and shops," Twyford said.
Collins issued a press statement in March attacking the scheme but acknowledging the previous Government had "signed off" on Unitec's plans.
Asked about that today, she said the previous scheme her Government had viewed was far smaller, only about 2600 dwellings.
Collins said the clinic's location should be discussed more widely, not talking about its location could create issues and there were major stormwater and schooling issues yet to be resolved, as well as the clinic.
"Any failure to disclose the clinic's location could create conflict for the purchasers and their families with the Mason Clinic. That would not be fair to anyone," Collins said.
Questions to Twyford's office about the affordable house project's location resulted in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment replying.
The Government had bought 29.3ha of land at Unitec's Mt Albert campus, it said.
"This block of land does not include the Mason Clinic site that is already owned by Waitemata District Health Board. At this time there are no plans to move the Mason Clinic which provides a safe, secure environment for patients and given there are already existing residents in the area, we don't see it posing any increased risk to new residents.
"The announcement of the acquisition of this land from Unitec is just the first step in this process. The development model is yet to be decided and will be finalised following further engagement with iwi as Treaty settlement rights holders for the site.
"Officials will be working with local groups, including the DHB, to ensure this development contributes to the growth of a diverse community that looks after the health of its people," MBIE said.