Kiwibuild is a failure. The government has decided to stop interim measurements, saying that they are not ‘helpful’, which just means that they have been unable to meet their targets. The scheme has not been abandoned all together though. Twyford has a cunning new plan. He wants to seize land for housing. Private land. quote.
KiwiBuild is seriously struggling to gain momentum, and Housing Minister Phil Twyford has a trick up his sleeve that he hopes will bring the scheme back to life: an Urban Development Authority.
But his officials have warned it will have a detrimental impact – made worse by the fact private companies or people could make money off the land grab.
The minister is working on legislation to give the Urban Development Authority powers to build quickly – including the ability to force landowners to sell up if they need the land for housing. end quote.
This has an ugly feel to it. Yes, the government has always been able to do this, for roading projects for example. Instead of forcing councils to rezone land, or allow more land to be released for housing, Twyford wants to seize it from private owners. Instead of converting conservation land, which is often nothing more than scrub land in some areas, Twyford wants to seize it from private owners. The government has lots of options to consider to release more land for housing before it needs to think about seizing it from private owners. But guess what? That is his first thought. quote.
See what I mean? It doesn’t sound as if seizing land will be the exception rather than the rule. It sounds as if it is likely to be the first resort. quote.
Property commentator Ashley Church says the agency will be too powerful.
“The scary aspects of it are that it’s going to be able to do much more quickly things that we’ve either expected to be able to consult on or which impact on our private property rights in a way.” end quote.
This is very worrying. Up until now, seizing land has only been for infrastructure projects. Never housing. quote.
Officials have warned that a drop in public confidence in property rights would be exacerbated by the fact the model proposed enables private actors to make a financial gain – that means developers profiting from Government land grabs.
“I think this is the key issue, and I think it’s why there is no history of doing this in New Zealand until now,” Mr Church said. end quote.
Absolutely. Until now, the rights of private landowners have been sacrosanct, except in a very few, special cases. This may be coming to an end. quote.
Mr Twyford is looking at new ways of compensating landowners the Government forces out, including offering up shares in the new development.
Newshub end quote.
Of course, the government could always compensate landowners by paying them the market value of the property? Even that will not be good solution for everyone, as people hold land for lots of reasons, but technically at least the owners would not be out of pocket. It does not appear though that this is going to be the standard approach.
The ability to own property has been a right of New Zealanders ever since the country was colonised by the British. Now it seems the rights of property owners are going to be diluted. Make no mistake, New Zealanders. Our new communist government will make sure we are all equal in the eyes of the law. Soon, no one will be able to own anything.