Private property rights warrant protection, yet again we see their flagrant erosion.

We’ve now got groups who think they can squat on land, destroying its saleability, with complete disregard for whose name is on the title. If they want it they should bloody buy it.

The site has had expressions of interest from people keen to do something positive with it. But thanks to illegal squatters, the land sits derelict, unsaleable, and the poor owner has now died without hope of a positive outcome.

If a hapu group wants a piece of land but can’t make a successful case before the Waitangi Tribunal, they’re free to pool resources and make an offer. But in this case, the hapu is not interested in a legitimate approach, apparently because they smell a freebie.

The Crown must not bow to demands to buy the land. To do so would be to reward to illegal squatters and encourage further occupations.

ACT is increasingly alarmed at an erosion of property rights caused by dangerous precedents we’ve seen at Ihumātao and Ahipara, where councils have stepped in to buy occupied land. It’s sent a message to fringe hapu groups that if you want a piece of land, just squat on it, and it’s yours.

It’s time to reverse this precedent. The Crown, the Council, and especially Police need to bang their heads together and restore the rights of title holders.

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