Last month, National announced it would be giving "unused" government land in Auckland to developers to build houses in an effort to deflate the housing bubble. There were a lot of problems with that idea, both with the Public Works Act and with Treaty Settlement legislation. And now it looks like its going to court:
Ngati Whatua and Waikato-Tainui have decided to go to court to challenge the Government's interpretation of "right of first refusal" in light of Budget moves to free up surplus land in Auckland for private housing developments.
But in a bid to avoid souring their relationship with the Government, the tribes are inviting the Crown to join them in seeking clarification of the law.
The tribes have asked the law firm Russell McVeagh to seek an urgent meeting with the Solicitor-General Mike Heron to discuss the possibility of a joint approach to the courts.
So, the major policy platform of Budget 2015 just turned into a total clusterfuck.
As for how it will go, I think its hard to imagine the courts letting the government shit all over a Treaty settlement like this. But either way, Nick Smith's houses aren't happening anytime soon, and he will need to look for another solution.