Land rights potentially stripped under Housing law

By Heeni Brown

Hundreds and thousands of people will be affected by the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill being rushed through parliament. Green Party leader Metiria Turei says those who have rights to lands being taken under the Public Works may not have those rights anymore.

Metiria Turei says, "We are dealing with this bill in urgency, so there will be most if not all of those who have had this offer-back right for land that was gifted to the Crown by them or taken by them those people don't know that this right is being taken from them.”

The Housing Legislation Amendment Bill is under urgency in an attempt to combat New Zealand's housing shortage.

Housing Minister Nick Smith says, "This is a bill that will get houses built and rather than a wailing wall of grief about people not being able to have houses, people on this side of the house are prepared to support legislation that will get roofs over people’s heads."

Under the bill, there are no obligations to offer-back land to former owners under the Public Works Act when it comes to the disposal of state housing land.

Green MP Marama Davidson says, "This is a huge impact including for Māori because the government are rushing this bill through so that they don't have to give that land back anymore which is the current status quo."

While the provision does not affect any right of first refusal in relation to land under any Treaty of Waitangi claims settlements Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare is concerned for Iwi who are yet to settle their claims with the Crown.

Peeni Henare says, “I feel for my northern relations, the iwi of Ngāpuhi and others who are yet to settle their claims. How will this affect them if the bill is set in stone. How will it affect their lands that have been taken under the Public Works Act.”

For more on this story watch Te Kāea 5:30pm.