16 Nov 2012

Too many "land bank" buildings left to rot - MP

8:05 pm on 16 November 2012

Labour says too many vacant Crown properties are being vandalised, tagged, and kicked around - and no-one seems to care

The buildings are held in what's known as a Land Bank - often they're empty schools that could offered to iwi part of the response to their Treaty of Waitangi claims.

In his Parliamentary speech on a settlement bill Labour's spokesperson for Maori Affairs, Parekura Horomia, says some empty schools and halls are left to rot.

Mr Horomia called for a visionary minister to go to Cabinet to secure funding to care for the properties and speed up their release to tribes.

In response, the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Chris Finlayson, says he accepts that he needs to deal with the problem.

He says the Land Bank system is under pressure - and it's pointless handing over properties five or six years after a Treaty settlement becomes law if the buildings have fallen into disrepair.

Mr Finlayson said he'll talk to Mr Horomia about the Land Bank.