Taxpayers fork out $30 million for Ihumātao

Stuff reports:

The Government has struck a deal with the Māori King, Tūheitia, over the disputed land at Ihumātao, buying the property from Fletcher Building for $29.9 million and holding it in a trust.

The money comes from the Government’s Land for Housing Programme as there has been a commitment that there will be housing on the site.

There already was commitment by Fletchers for housing – 480 houses, including some for the local Iwi.

National’s finance spokesman Michael Woodhouse said taxpayers were paying for the Government bungling a land dispute.

“Taxpayers aren’t a bank to be called upon to clean up the Government’s poor decisions, particularly when it is meddling in private property rights,” Woodhouse said.

“The Prime Minister should never have involved herself in the Ihumātao dispute and taxpayers shouldn’t bailing her out now.”

“The ramifications of this Crown deal go much further than the lost opportunity of building houses immediately. It will call all full and final treaty settlements into question and set a dangerous precedent for other land occupations, like the one at Wellington’s Shelly Bay.”

“More than 20,000 Kiwi families are on the waiting list for a home this Christmas. The Government should not be spending $30 million on stopping 480 much-needed houses from being built right now.”

We spent $30 million to prevent 480 houses being built.

ACT leader David Seymour said Ardern was interfering with private property rights.

“If you own land and someone squats on it, the prime minister won’t defend your property rights, she’ll use taxpayers’ money to buy the land off you,” Seymour said earlier this week.

“The prime minister’s job is to uphold the law, and none more so than private property rights. Instead she has thumbed her nose at the very legal framework that was designed with Māori and has worked so effectively to right past wrongs.”

Expect many more occupations of privately owned land, now that people know the Government will step in and reward them for the occupation.

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