$30 million purchase of land by Ardern govt deemed unlawful

National Party housing spokeswoman Nicola Willis wrote to the Auditor General inquiring as to the legality of the Ardern govt’s purchase of the disputed Ihumātao land from Fletcher Building. His reply says the expenditure was unlawful.

The Auditor-General’s inquiries have revealed that after Treasury officials refused to let the Government use money from the Land for Housing programme to make the Ihumātao payment, Ministers invented a completely new spending category: ‘Te Puke Tāpapatanga a Hape (Ihumātao)’ within Vote Housing and Urban Development in the Budget.

“They did this on February 9 but tried to keep it secret,” Ms Willis says. “The Auditor-General raised serious concerns about the way this was done, saying ‘the payment of $29.9 million was incurred without the proper authority’.

According to the Auditor-General, the Ministry did not seek the correct approvals for money in the Budget to be used in this way, making the payment unlawful until validated by Parliament as part of an Appropriation (Confirmation and Validation) Act, Ms Willis says.

Will we see anyone walk the plank for this illegal use of taxpayer money? For the way they bent the rules to do just what Treasury told them they could not do?

Not likely, a bit of book cooking will no doubt fix it to the satisfaction of everyone. No one should expect that Princess Jacinda and her comrades would ever have to face the same degree of justice as normal people do.

You can read the Auditor General’s letter to Nicola Wood here- Ltr_Nicola_Willis_re_Ihumātao