Ngati Whatua files court papers over Crown snub on Auckland land sales

Ngati Whatua, a member of the Tamaki Makaurau Collective, has filed a statement of claim in the High Court at Auckland over the government’s decision not to offer land earmarked for housing development to the iwi first.

The iwi is seeking a judicial review of recent decisions around the Auckland Crown Land Programme, and Moire Road property in particular, it said in a statement. Ngati Whatua claims it should have been offered the land under the right of first refusal (RFR) clause in the Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Redress Act. The government denies the iwi has a right of first refusal, saying the clause was tied to the wider Tamaki Collective.

“Achieving clarity over the extent of our 172-­year RFR is a fundamental point of principle and economically important,” Ngati Whatua deputy chair Ngarimu Blair said. “Unlike hāpū and iwi in many other parts of the country, land in our rohe is extremely scarce and so the integrity of the RFR is vitally important.”

Earlier this month Ngati Whatua and Waikato-Tainui iwi sought a joint approach with the government to the High Court for a declaration as to whether a right of first refusal should have been invoked when Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith announced in the Budget plans to put tracts of unused Crown land in Auckland up for use for affordable housing.

Ngati Whatua decided to go it alone, and filed the statement of claim in good faith to get “clarification on this important point of principle and law,” Blair said.

The iwi left open an invitation to the Crown to join the application.


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