Wednesday, 17 March 2021

There may never be a house built at Ihumātao

“The Government can’t escape the fact that the agreement it signed on the future of land at Ihumātao only says houses ‘may’ be built there and since the agreement was announced there hasn’t been any commitment that a single house will actually be built there,” says ACT Housing spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“Save Our Unique Landscape’s (SOUL’s) only public statement since the announcement of the agreement doesn’t mention housing once.

“Advice from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to the Cabinet made it clear that the agreement left Ihumātao’s new owners with the potential to determine that there are ‘other uses which are deemed to be more suitable than housing’ for the land.

“This is important, because Treasury doesn’t believe the land meets the appropriation criteria for the Government’s Land for Housing fund – which was established to support KiwiBuild.

“Almost four months on from the announcement the governance group responsible for agreeing on the future use of the land hasn’t even been appointed.

“The longer we don’t get an announcement of a development partner and a plan for building houses the harder it gets for the Government to fit its decidedly square funding peg – the Land for Housing fund – into the round hole that is Ihumātao.

“That’s just one reason ACT has asked the Auditor-General to investigate what appears to be a wholly inappropriate use of taxpayers’ money.”