Homes no longer needed for Waterview motorway project so they’re for sale on open market.
Thirty-one former state houses taken for a motorway in Auckland's Waterview and Mt Albert suburbs are being sold on the open market because Housing New Zealand no longer wants them.
The NZ Transport Agency has told Labour MP Carmel Sepuloni it has already sold 14 houses that were bought from Housing NZ for $5 million and have been sold to private buyers for $6.9 million.
It has earmarked a further 17 state houses, valued at $6.6 million, for sale in parts of Waterview and Mt Albert.
The Transport Agency bought the houses when it planned to build most of the new motorway, linking the airport with the northwestern motorway, in an open-air trench. A late decision to build an extended tunnel instead, and other design changes, meant the houses were spared.
But a Housing NZ spokesman said the corporation did not want them back because it had plans to redevelop more intensive new housing in four special housing areas elsewhere in Waterview.
The homes are also being offered to iwi under the Tamaki Collective settlement. Ngati Whatua Whai Rawa chief executive Rob Hutchison said his iwi had not bought any yet but was interested in any state properties that came up for sale in Auckland. It was negotiating to buy one property from the Transport Agency in Phyllis St in Mt Albert, which was in private ownership before being taken for the motorway.
"They don't give them to us. They are valued, so what happens is an offer is made at a price and then there are a number of different iwi across three different roopu [tribal territories] so we each have a turn in a carousel system," Mr Hutchison said.
Ms Sepuloni, whose Kelston electorate includes Waterview, said she was shocked former state houses were being sold in the midst of a housing crisis. "There is increasing demand, and there was an opportunity there for the National Government to be able to address that demand."
Waterview resident Bill McKay, who chairs the Northwestern Community Association of residents in the motorway's path, said the suburb had been hit hard by the loss of houses and he opposed selling any more state homes.
But Blair Schulze of the Save Waterview Association said more private homeowners would be good for the area.
"The motorway took out all those houses and ... that was a good thing for us because the crime rate dropped massively," Mr Schulze said.