Auditor-General should investigate Ihumātao deal

National has written to the Auditor-General, requesting that he investigate the apparent misuse of millions in taxpayer dollars used to settle the Ihumātao land dispute.

National’s Finance spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says he was alarmed to learn that Treasury warned the Government against using Land for Housing funds in this way, as it could run counter to the purpose for which those funds were intended.

“It’s bad enough that KiwiBuild has failed but it’s even worse if Ministers are now treating it as a slush-fund for their pet projects.

“The Land for Housing programme was set up with the explicit purpose to rapidly provide new housing. Funding for the programme was included in Budget appropriations voted for by Parliament, and Treasury documents described it as being ‘intended to facilitate the development of KiwiBuild affordable homes’.

“There is a troubling precedent at stake should Ministers feel they can requisition funds for purposes well outside what Parliament ever intended.”

National’s Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis says the Government still has not said how many, if any, houses will be built at Ihumātao, and when this will actually happen.

“The Government dipped into the Land for Housing funds to purchase the Ihumātao land from Fletchers, even though this put an existing housing development at risk.

“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.

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

“That’s why I’ve written to the Auditor-General seeking an inquiry into whether the use of funding appropriated for ‘Land for Housing’ under a KiwiBuild Budget appropriation was improperly used to settle the Ihumātao dispute.”

You can read the letter to the Auditor-General here.