Response to concerns about the Government’s purchase of land at Ihumātao

On 16 March 2021, David Seymour MP and Nicola Willis MP wrote separately to our Office about the Government’s purchase of land at Te Puke Tāpapatanga a Hape (commonly referred to as Ihumātao). They had concerns about:

  • $29.9 million of the appropriation for the Land for Housing Programme being used to purchase the land at Ihumātao from Fletcher Residential Limited;
  • the use of that amount being outside the appropriation for that Programme and, therefore, potentially unlawful; and
  • the importance of the public being reassured that significant sums of taxpayer money are being managed appropriately.

We have replied to both members of Parliament. The responses are similar and contain details of the work we have undertaken on this matter.

Our conclusion

In our view, the intent of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, and the intent of Ministers, was to establish a new appropriation that would provide authority for the purchase of the land at Ihumātao. However, because the Ministry did not seek the correct approvals, the expenditure was incurred without appropriation and without authority to use Imprest Supply. For these reasons, the payment is unlawful until validated by Parliament.

We do not intend to carry out further inquiry work into this matter as it will be addressed in the normal course of our Controller work.