Duncan Garner: Ihumatao deal to be struck this week - sources



OPINION: I have some breaking news for you, sources have told me the Ihumatao land deal has been struck and could be announced this week. 

First some background so you're not confused. This is the land out by Auckland Airport owned by Fletchers who planned to build houses on it. 

Then in came a few protestors who squatted there, refusing to leave until it was returned to local Maori. 

Jacinda Ardern controversially stepped in and ordered construction to stop.

And today comes the deal, and taxpayers you've copped it right between the eyes.

My sources say the Government will transfer $45 million as a grant to Auckland Council... who will then pass that on to Fletchers.

They paid just $26 million for the private land a few years back, so they make a nice profit today $19 million for doing not much.

The Government can't be seen to pay the money directly, hence the smoke and mirrors, but none of us are fooled.

So Fletchers walk away relieved and happy, after having their private property rights trampled all over.

The Kingitanga and Tainui are then gifted the land,  as they are mana whenua.

Tainui refused to buy back the land with its own money,  as that land was part of the 1860 confiscation.

Hence the time it's taken to broker this deal.

But most of this land will then be gifted back to New Zealand as a reserve.

Except for a small block, which will be set aside for papakainga housing for the local hapu.

So winners and losers: Winners - Fletchers walk away with a big cash profit and their reputation intact.

But they should be shaking their heads that these protestors got a fair hearing by a Government willing to broker a deal that put protesting first and private land rights a distant last.

Tainui and the Kingitanga win by getting land that was never available for settlements until the illegal occupation.  

Pania Newton the organiser will be regarded as a hero.

Losers: That's you, New Zealand taxpayers who just stumped up $45 million because a bunch of protestors held the country to ransom.

This should send a chill down the spine of anyone sitting on private land.

Property owners beware,  this Government just picked protestors over private property rights.

And equally,  all those iwi who have settled and couldn't get their hands on prized private property they may pile back into the beehive demanding renegotiation.

Jacinda Ardern has set the tone for this and blame can be laid squarely at her feet as Prime Minister.

A Government spokesperson told Newshub "Constructive discussions are continuing. There will be no announcement today."

Duncan Garner is the host of the AM Show.