21 Feb 2017

Treaty settlement conditional on housing project, says iwi

4:49 pm on 21 February 2017

An Auckland iwi says its Treaty settlement won't go ahead if Parliament does not enact a bill allowing it to build houses on a reserve.

The area in red will be used for new homes under the plan for the Port England Reserve development.

The area in red will be used for new homes under the plan for the Point England Reserve development. Photo: Supplied

The Local Government and Environment Select Committee is hearing submissions into the Point England Development Enabling Bill.

Ngāti Paoa would buy 12 hectares of the 45ha Point England Reserve from the government and build 300 houses on the land.

Iwi trust chief executive Hauauru Rawiri told the committee it would transform the reserve, which was neglected and polluted in places.

"This bill is part of our Treaty settlement, the opportunity to buy back our own tribal land and develop and enhance it, if Parliament does not enact this bill then Ngāti Paoa Treaty settlement cannot proceed."

Most of the submitters to the Point England Bill said the planned development would take away precious reserve and threaten shore birds, including the New Zealand dotterel.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff told the committee many local boards were worried that other open spaces would then be taken for development.

Mr Goff said if the sale went ahead he wanted to be sure all the proceeds were spent on improving open public spaces in the area.

"They worry about the precedent, the precedent of taking reserve land and removing the reserve land designation over it by a fast-track process that does not involve the Reserves Act," he said.

The iwi was asked if it was interested in accepting a multi-million dollar stake in the neighbouring Tamaki Redevelopment Company (TRC) instead.

TRC is upgrading or replacing hundreds of state houses and building several thousand new state and private homes.

The head of Ngāti Paoa's investment arm, Peter Mason, told the committee it was not interested in accepting the offer.

"Hypothetically, probably no thank you... we are generally uncomfortable with it as a regeneration project. We don't think that it is going to deliver that which has been promised."

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs