Govt's plan to build houses on excess crown land hits another roadblock

The Government’s plan to build houses on excess crown land has hit another roadblock. Three sites earmarked for housing can't actually be built on.

Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith showed off spare Government land during a bus tour in 2015 as sites he wanted to put houses on.

Fast forward a couple of years, and there's a problem.

His officials have deemed the Wiri Station Rd site in Auckland "not viable for residential development".

The minister was too busy to talk to us on Tuesday so he left the explaining to the Prime Minister, who told Newshub: "There's been a lot of bumps, some speed bumps but some just trying to get the thing up and going."

One of those speed bumps was revelations that the Government didn't actually own the land - most of it belonged to the Council.

Mr Smith pushed ahead, adamant they'd build anyway - but it's not going to happen.

Labour leader Andrew Little said it's been a shambles.

"There's been so many stuff ups, cock ups, muck ups, I'm not sure the guy's got any shame left."

Mr Smith issued a statement to Newshub saying that out of all the land he showed off on his 2015 bus tour, this block at Wiri was the only one that wasn't going ahead. The statement listed four developments that are going ahead - with a total of 476 homes.

The Auckland sites currently being developed through the Crown Land Programme are:

  • Moire Road, Massey, 196 dwellings
  • Great North Road, Waterview, 120 dwellings
  • New North Road, Mt Albert, 100 dwellings
  • Titoki Street, Te Atatu, 60 dwellings

But on top of not being able to build on Wiri Station Rd, Manukau Station Rd will have 100 fewer homes than planned, Mihini Rd hasn't been vacated by KiwiRail so it can't be used and Luke St has already been snatched for a pop up temporary housing site.

"This is now standard operating procedure for Nick Smith, to tell everybody that there's a big plan and it turns out no homework has been done," Mr Little says.

Mr English defended the Minister. "He's done a good job actually, some people think you can just decide to have more houses and they magically appear".