“Labour appears to have given in to a group of radical activists occupying private land at Ihumātao with a deal for a third party to purchase the land to be announced imminently”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Ihumātao has turned into a political tragicomedy. Instead of doing what political leaders should do, and protecting the rights of property owners, Jacinda Ardern naively waded into the issue, enabling a group of radical activists, undermining property rights, putting taxpayers on the hook for buying the land, and preventing houses from being built.

“Ardern effectively said ‘If you break the law and illegally occupy private land for long enough, the government won’t punish you, it will give you a seat at the table, and it will bully the private owner into selling the land.’ She has legitimised unlawful behaviour.

“This is a nightmare for New Zealand and will have ramifications for every iwi settlement.

“What message does this send to property owners around the country? Our prosperity is built on a system of property rights enforced by government. If politicians can simply walk in and demand you halt work on your property, where is the incentive to develop it?

“But it gets worse. Taxpayers or ratepayers might have to stump up the $40 million needed for Auckland Council or another party to buy the land. Finally, in the middle of a housing crisis, Aucklanders won’t have the benefit of the 480 homes Fletcher had planned to build.”