By 3 News online staff
Labour has accused the Government of building "unaffordable houses among Auckland's power plants and gravestones" as its answer to the city's housing crisis.
Sparks flew between the Prime Minister and Labour leader Andrew Little in Parliament's question time today, over claims Crown land earmarked for housing was occupied by an electricity substation.
The substation, in the suburb of Glendene, caught fire in 2013, leaving 46,000 homes without power and sending smoke rings into the sky.
John Key today denied any houses would be built on the site of the substation, saying there was a lot of vacant land to choose from.
He had been advised by Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith about 430 hectares
of land of the Crown's 150,000 hectares in Auckland would be used for housing, he said.
Mr Little asked if Mr Key had been advised about the substation explosion.
"Do [Finance Minister] Bill English's reassuring words that 'I presume it's not always exploding' relate to the substation or Nick Smith's portfolio?" he asked.
"I'm sure Mr English is right. I'm sure it's not always exploding," Mr Key replied.
Other controversial Crown land earmarked for housing includes cemeteries, but Mr Key could not confirm whether Mangere Lawn Cemetery was on Dr Smith's list of sites.
Mr Little accused National of building "unaffordable houses among Auckland's power plants and gravestones".
This morning, Labour's Phil Twyford claimed around a quarter of the 500 hectares earmarked for the project was unsuitable.
Mr English said Labour should be backing the move, aimed at increasing supply and cooling Auckland's skyrocketing housing market.
"There is vacant Crown land in Auckland, the Government's gearing up to build on it," he told RadioLIVE this morning.
"It seems a bit odd that the Labour Party's against it when they've been advocating that policy for some time."
He says just because there are some unsuitable areas, it shouldn't force the plans to be abandoned.
"There's three hectares of vacant land on [the Glendene] site, and it would seem to be feasible that you can build houses on it. But they've got to work through each piece of land."
source: newshub archive