On Sunday two senior ministers held meetings with senior representatives of Auckland’s 13 iwi in an attempt to diffuse a storm over plans to sell excess Crown land for private housing.
Ngati Whatua claims it had the right of first refusal over Crown land sales – and in early June threatened to challenge the plans in court.
On Sunday evening Housing Minister Nick Smith said he took comfort from the fact that no one in his meeting with the Tamaki Collective had raised the prospect of legal action.
However later the representatives informed Attorney-General Chris Finlayson that they wanted the matter clarified in court.
While Ng?ti Wh?tua and Waikato-Tainui said they supported plans to increase affordable housing in Auckland- they ‘believe it would be valuable to seek clarification from the High Court in Auckland with respect to the right of first refusal to surplus Crown’ the two iwi said in a joint statement – adding that they wanted to make a joint approach with the Crown to the court.
‘Our major Treaty settlement Acts…provide us with a right of first refusal when the government plans to privatise land – and these rights will endure well into the 22nd century’ Waikato-Tainui’s Tukoroirangi Morgan and Ngati Whatua’s Ngarimu Blair said in a joint statement.
‘Since those major Treaty settlements, we are fully focussed on the future and tremendously excited about Auckland and New Zealand’s prospects for economic growth and social development’.
The joint iwi have hired Russell McVeagh to represent them.