Nick Smith

Minister of Housing issues statement: I am not responsible for Auckland house prices

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Good grief.  Has it come to this?  Explaining is losing.  Making excuses for something you aren’t even responsible for?  That’s top grade losing.

Opposition parties are piling pressure onto Housing Minister Nick Smith after the average Auckland house value rose by $74,000 in just three months.

The Massey University report revealed the city’s 56 percent less affordable than the New Zealand average, and on track to get worse.

Labour and the Greens are placing the blame squarely on Dr Smith, but he says it’s not his fault. Read more »

No surprises here as Ngati Whatua go to court

The brownmail starts. Ngati Whatua are going to court.

I wonder when the taniwha is going to turn up?

Auckland iwi Ngati Whatua has confirmed it will seek a judicial review of Government’s plan to sell off Crown land to private developers.

The iwi said this afternoon it had filed a statement of claim in the High Court in Auckland to seek a ruling on its right of first refusal on surplus land in Auckland.

“Ngati Whatua is working closely with the government to get more houses built,” iwi spokesman Ngarimu Blair said in a statement.   Read more »

Omnishambles Smith doesn’t disappoint: He’s delivered again

Housing Minister Nick Smith has blamed 3 News for recent blunders in his plan to open up public land, saying he was put under “enormous pressure” by our constant questioning.

It comes as Labour leader Andrew Little says it’s time Dr Smith was sacked.

“If I regret an element, it’s that Brook [Sabin, 3 News reporter] – you’ve put me under enormous pressure,” says Dr Smith.

Last month, 3 News asked Dr Smith to show us some of the 500 hectares of public land he’s opening up for development, after allegations houses could be built next to substations and cemeteries.

Dr Smith organised a bus tour, but the first piece of land he took journalists to, it turned out, the Government didn’t actually own.

“I pushed officials very hard to illustrate the kinds of lands we were doing in this programme,” says Dr Smith.

“Next time you push me hard I’ll need to tell you to be more patient so that we can get all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed.”

But Dr Smith’s biggest problem is legal action by Auckland iwi Ngati Whatua, claiming it has first rights to the public land under its Treaty settlement. Read more »

Concrete Cancer Coverup: David Benson-Pope tied up in mess

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Oh the irony of having ex-Labour Minister David Benson-Pope tied up in a concrete cancer mess in Dunedin.

Dunedin readers will know about the John Wickliffe House building and how the Dunedin City Council have declined the owner’s resource concent application to repair and repaint the building.

“The Princes St building, owned by Plaza Property Trust, has been hit with a common phenomenon known as spalling, or ”concrete cancer”, which causes precast concrete facade panels to crack and partly crumble, causing fragments to fall off.

Trust director Tony Offen said the concrete panels that formed the horizontal bands of the building, were cast with reinforcing steel inside, before being surface-ground back to expose a pattern of darker aggregate.

”Unfortunately, this has left the layer of concrete covering the steel too thin to prevent moisture rusting the steel.”

The industry standard technique for repairing concrete cancer involves removing the damaged concrete (up to 25% of each affected panel in some cases), rust-treating the steel rods, then applying an epoxy-based mortar to replace the removed material.

Then the panels must be waterproofed using a special-purpose pigmented elastomeric coating system which covers the repair patch to produce an even finish.”

Read more »

The Low Rat Cunning of Phil Twyford

The Herald has run a very interesting article on Phil Twyford, saying he is doing a good job of pummelling Nick Smith.

This may be true but wait until Smith says “Well what would you do Phil?” as everyone knows Phil is a bit short in the brain department and doesn’t have a sensible, cogent strategy for dealing with housing affordability that will actually work in the real world.

And Twyford is not known for being a team player.

Twyford’s ambition has not always endeared him to his colleagues. During Labour’s frequent leadership changes since 2008, some within the party observed Twyford had a tendency to sniff the wind and ingratiate himself accordingly.

Twyford was among those understood to be trying to persuade David Shearer to step down although Maryan Street took most of the fall publicly for that. In the ensuing leadership contest Twyford helped run Grant Robertson’s campaign.   Read more »

Nick Smith was wrong, Iwi are going to court

Nick Smith’s ongoing omnishambles trundles forward and as predicted here Iwi are going to court.

Housing Minister Nick Smith says it is “disappointing” iwi are taking legal action on the issue of ‘first right of refusal’ and he would prefer the matter is settled out of court.

Ngati Whatua and Waikato-Tainui yesterday challenged the Government’s interpretation of ‘right of first refusal’ in light of Budget moves to free up surplus land in Auckland for private housing developments.

“It’s a little bit disappointing, it certainly wasn’t raised when I met with the 13 iwi [yesterday],” Mr Smith said on Newstalk ZB this morning.  Read more »

Yep, Nick Smith really should give Daryl Kerrigan a call

Someone really does need to tell Nick Smith he’s dreamin’.

Housing Minister Nick Smith has just had a hui with Auckland’s 13 iwi who claim first right of refusal on up to 500 hectares of public land earmarked for housing.

“I emphasized to them that the Government is absolutely committed – both in spirit and in word – to ensure that their Treaty obligations are respected,” Mr Smith says.

Iwi took exception to treatment by the Crown over plans to develop huge tracts of land.

They say they would normally be given first rights but a clause allows the Government to sell public land for social purposes.

Mr Smith is reassigning education and transport land to state housing land.

Read more »

Omnishambles Smith tried to convince Ngati Whatua first right of refusal doesn’t apply – good luck with that

Nick Smith really is like Malcolm Tucker’s coffee machine.

Omnishambles Smith has tried to convince Ngati Whatua first right of refusal doesn’t apply.

Housing Minister Nick Smith is hopeful a dispute with Auckland iwi over the government’s plan to sell-off land for housing developments can be resolved without court action.

Ngati Whatua has sought legal advice after learning the government had no intention of dealing with it first over the sale of 500 hectares of public land in Auckland.

The Maori Party says a right of first refusal is a standard provision in Treaty of Waitangi settlements.    Read more »

Concrete Cancer Cover-up: Oh look, more Concrete Cancer problems

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This morning on TVNZ’s Q&A Housing Minister Nick Smith reinforces the growing perception that National MPs believe that everything is fine and dandy.

He’s relaxed and takes credit for addressing Auckland’s housing by moving the rate of house building from 4,000 per year to 8,000 houses per year in the three years he’s been minister.

During the interview he even claims that he’s one of the Government’s three most senior ministers, a big jump from his current 12th ranking.

On this basis, and in light of the ongoing Concrete Cancer Cover-Up series, you would think he’d want to take credit for solving the festering sore that is the the use of dodgy high alkali cement used in the $40.6 million Manukau District Court building upgrade.

Documents show Nick Smith’s officials have been advised that dodgy cement was used in the early stages of construction of this taxpayer-funded building. Yet Nick Smith wants a ‘report’ showing this.

Back in February I blogged about the concrete cancer epidemic in Australia to show this type of issue is not going to go away. Now we see the issue getting worse.   Read more »

Nick Smith can be relied on…to deliver an omnishambles

Nick Smith has struck again.

If John Key ever needs a job screwed up he can always rely on Nick Smith. Yet Smith remains in cabinet.

Nick Smith is smart, but he thinks he is smarter than his advisors so he ends up missing shit. And that shit ends up splattered all over the face of his boss.

The government’s plan to build housing on 500 hectares of Auckland land has hit another hitch: some of it isn’t actually owned by the Crown.

Last month Housing Minister Nick Smith earmarked under-utilised public land for a housing development which would provide about 600 new homes to address the overheated market.

But New Zealand Transport Authority confirmed to Radio New Zealand that one of the sites in central Manukau that the government had hoped to build on actually belongs to Auckland Council.

“These things aren’t necessarily straight-forward,” Prime Minister John Key told reporters on Thursday.   Read more »