Government Disposal Process benefits no one except maybe Iwi.

The Disposal of valuable and large scale excess property is a flawed process, which has no real benefactors (Except maybe Iwi).

I say this as it is the truth, This article was brought on by an article in Stuff.co.nz Although I have had previous experience in dealings with one of the Schools in Question, Tokoroa East School. 

Tokoroa East School was one of two sites first earmarked for the Town, the School, and a Creamery (Which is no longer) paved the way for the town that is there. 

DP 8320 showing first subdivision of Tokoroa the Township (Click Image for a Larger Version)

This particular School, was gifted to the community effectively, with the government ultimately paying for just half of the School Building. The land, fence, and another half of the building etc was all supplied by the community. 

 

2 Documents from official files which state how the School was started, and how much the community contributed. (Click Image for a Larger Version)

I have seen how long and drawn out the process is by a company with ties to the current Government (One of the Directors is a Board Member for the National Party). Ironically I was able to track down the family members of the property developer which Gifted the site in a bid to sell sections, in just a few months, yet it took a few years by the company contracted to dispose of the School. And in the meantime, it sat empty, in a state of disarray. 

It may come as a surprise to many that the site actually has a Heritage Covenant in place to protect the Local Heritage of the site, as well as the heritage value to the Auckland Education Board, and the Labour Party. One of the buildings on the site is one of 2 designed by the First Labour Government, and the only one remaining of its kind, this makes it extremely valuable. As for School Buildings, shows three stages of the Auckland Education Board

Despite the Heritage Covenant, the site in the Offer Document suggests that all buildings are in such a state of disarray that they will likely be demolished, The family of the giftors of the site had been given only days to accept or decline the offer under the Section 40 of the Public Works Act. Iwi (Raukawa) have since been offered the site (with no expiry) (of which they have ultimately accepted only if the Heritage Covenant is removed). Why would they want to do that? The only logical reason is to demolish the buildings and strip the historical value from the site. This is kind of ironic considering their treaty settlement only a few years ago of which they stated the Heritage and Culture had been stripped from them for the region. And yet they are wanting to do the exact same thing to the community.

Just after the Treaty Settlement had been signed, the Mayor at the time confirmed in Writing he was supportive of Raukawa, and wouldn't step in their way, as Raukawa had said in principle if they didn't get the site (Which is on State Highway 1 and right next to the Sports and Events Center, they would up and leave the South Waikato. 

Who are the winners and losers of the disposal process? Ultimately the answer is everyone Looses, there are some benefits for Iwi in the process, and sometimes Developers may get prime real estate (And some cases buildings) for a steal of a price. This, of course, comes as a loss to the Government, the community, heritage associations etc. 

The way it progresses through the several stages is long, drawn out, and not offered in an equal way. The giftors or original owners of a property should have the same deal as Iwi, the fact it isn't the case and Iwi can call the shots and take as long as they like to progress, it hits a stand still until Iwi state they don't want it, it doesn't progress to the next stage which is the open market. 

All parties should have the same offer, same time frame to accept, and be equally able to negotiate, Where at present the only negotiation that can take place is by Iwi. If any changes are made to an offer or any terms, all parties should then have a chance to accept or decline that modified offer, and not just one party. All the power is with Iwi in the disposal of Government Properties. Some may call me whatever they want, but in essence, I accept the Waitangi settlement, however, I don't think we are doing any justice to anyone if we ignore the heritage values, or benefit one over the other in any deals.

Whilst Excess Government property (such as closed Schools) are in the disposal process, they should remain as assets in the community and be used to house community organisations, this would also keep the returns of sales high as the sites will be maintained, not maintaining a site is still costing the Taxpayer a fortune in lost sales, and in Maintenance and security. 

Published by D Blair, Hamilton

 

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