TCC adopts RFR land sale policy

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Tauranga City Council has adopted the Property Acquisitions and Disposals Policy 2021, which includes a right of first refusal (RFR) for mana whenua to buy land at its assessed market value.

The buying and selling of property by council (property acquisition and disposal) happens for many reasons.

Council buys land to build infrastructure, create new greenspace or provide community facilities.

When a piece of land is no longer needed for its original purpose or to deliver another strategic outcome for the community, Council can decide to sell it to realise a financial return for ratepayers.

Tauranga City Council commission chair Anne Tolley says the new policy was created following the review of three existing policies and will make it easier for people to understand why a property is being bought or sold, and easier for council staff to apply a single consistent process.

“This review also gave us the opportunity to look at the principles behind the policy – including how we can recognise the historical and cultural connection that mana whenua have with the land here in Tauranga Moana,” says Tolley.

“The policy now gives mana whenua the opportunity to purchase council property through a right of first refusal at market value – which is assessed by independent registered valuers – before it is offered for sale through an open market process.”

The RFR will apply the sale of surplus property, which the council has decided is no longer required for strategic or operational purposes, and therefore is suitable for disposal.

The RFR does not apply to atypical properties (properties that are harder to value). Not all properties will fit these criteria and the RFR can only happen after any statutory obligations are met. 

“It’s the first policy of its kind in Aotearoa New Zealand, and worth celebrating. It’s another positive step in the right direction towards recognising the significant role that mana whenua have in building, protecting and celebrating Tauranga, its environment and its people.

“We have created a process which we believe will enable council to achieve a market-based return for ratepayers, while giving mana whenua the opportunity to participate fully in the process and regain ownership of historic whenua.

The policy will be available at by the end of the week.

The policy will be reviewed in two years.

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Tom Ranger

Posted on 11-10-2021 20:23 | By Tom Ranger

@R. Bell. Good to hear that some of it does trickle down. I guess it just so happens that I haven’t personally known anyone whom has been able to take advantage of those grants etc. and was denied at some point after high-school. I admit I am quite privileged compared to some. I don’t see the hard-working and deserving ,struggling people being helped up. I’ll acknowledge that and count myself lucky. All part of the discussions required. :) Have a nice day all.

Tom Ranger,

Posted on 11-10-2021 09:45 | By R. Bell

your cynicism is not uncommon, but Winston nor any local equivalent will benefit personally from any land returned to local Iwi. Some of my family members have been lucky enough to secure further education from grants administered by their Iwi and Hapu. If you qualify just apply. If not, spare a thought for those that do. No one is "spitting tacks" I can’t speak for morepork but I do know he is genuine in his beliefs, I think he is wrong on many counts and viky verky but it seems we need to debate it all, with no where else to debate. This whole process will end when level heads rule on all sides, without extreme cynicism.

Tom Ranger

Posted on 09-10-2021 14:19 | By Tom Ranger

These assets will end up with the top echelon of maori society (The Winston’s etc) and will have little to no benefit to me or any everyday maori personally. Which is an issue imo. If the council can sell approx $20 million dollars, to... lets be frank. White people (Watts and Hughes) for $1 (Harrington St) Logically the Sunlive viewers here are spitting tacks about this to the tune of about 20 million times the diss-appointment of these proposed RFR sales?

Can I just say,

Posted on 09-10-2021 10:46 | By R. Bell

that I acknowledge moreporks passion for the future of NZ. However that future will always include "division" not the weaponized version used as a political convenience but the inevitable divide between the founding partners of the nation. We can never allow "party politics" to dictate our future and in my opinion we should respect and acknowledge all hard won agreements with Maori until Maori themselves decide it time to "move on". Only then will NZ be the united country we all desire. Forced assimilation has never, and will never work for anyone. Thank you morepork for your rational and thank you Sunlive for your patience.

Whichever way you slice it

Posted on 08-10-2021 18:08 | By Let's get real

There is absolutely no way to identify the true value of anything, be it land or buildings, without putting it to the public to determine what they are willing to pay. I personally know of two properties that have exceeded valuation by many hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction. It can be guaranteed that properties "owned" by council but with disputed "ownership" would be negotiated quietly behind closed doors and gifted away. Open and honest divestment of ratepayer acquisitions should only happen by auction, where ratepayers have an option to retain the assets accumulated by representatives charged with taking actions to improve the lifestyle and wellbeing of ALL ratepayers.

I too thank Sunlive

Posted on 08-10-2021 16:27 | By R. Bell

as morpork does. However there is still much to debate, perhaps not now. But I do need to refute moreporks misunderstandings. 1. The tribes of Tauranga were not in rebellion they were punished for giving safe haven to warriors going to fight the incursion of British troops and settlers into the Waikato, because those tribes were resisting illegal settlers.2. At a time when wholesale settlement of immigrants was taking place Maori were denied representation, even the right to vote by the time those rights were given nearly all Maori land had been misappropriated, morepork does not want to be included in the aftermath of that theft, but sadly is, offensive or not. The Crown via Queen Elizabeth has apologised for those crimes. Lastly morepork you miss the point completely when you claim racism cannot be part of our future. It will not be, because it isn’t now.

Thanks to SunLive

Posted on 08-10-2021 12:56 | By morepork

An important exchange between myself and Robin Bell was carried and it is part of healthy debate which is suppressed by many other outlets. Although the word limits were exceeded by multi-parting posts, SunLive still printed responses and allowed the debate. I want to say: "Thanks" and this will not be abused (at least by me...) in the future.

Response to 'one final attempt'.

Posted on 08-10-2021 12:50 | By morepork

1. I don’t have ’buddies’ and everything I post here is my own opinion. Also, I have never reneged on a deal in my life. 2. The crime of land theft is arguable. Tribes were in rebellion against the Crown and were punished for it. 3. I agree there has been further legislation since the Treaty but it is time ALL of it was replaced and re-negotiated for a common future. 4. I don’t say we should ’forget’ the past; I say we should get over it. 5. Don’t include me in your "we, pakeha". It’s offensive and unnecessary. 6. To say that only non-Maori have benefited from the ’crimes’ of the past is patently untrue; EVERYBODY has advanced since 1840. 7. You agree things improved since 1975, but it was happening before that and has been accelerating since. Racism cannot be part of our future; neither can resentment.

One final attempt,

Posted on 08-10-2021 09:43 | By R. Bell

to convince morepork. You claim to have read and understood the Treaty. It is not a "stand alone" document and article two gives Maori a degree of self determination, not overridden by article three as is often claimed. I suggest you read article 71 of the Constitution Act 1852. That document clearly determined that Maori have their right to self government ( with conditions). At the very least that article proves the intent of the Treaty. The whole basis of your premise regarding "no special treatment for Maori" is therefore invalid. All of the above is simply a starting point that has to be acknowledged. Then we move on. And we are. I do NOT IGNORE the success of many Maori my family is full of them. But I know from personal experience that that success has largely come since the Crown acknowledgement of injustice and UNFAIRNESS. About 1975.

Morepork so it's fairness

Posted on 08-10-2021 09:19 | By R. Bell

you want. That is exactly the process we are currently engaging in. You claim it is unfair to offer Maori (RFR) on a few selected sites that in the first place ( no matter when) were stolen from them. In order to justify your position you now say we must all forget the original crime and become one people. Is it fair to now demand that the victims compete with the perpetrators, what other area of law does that twisted logic apply? Your claim that because you weren’t there you owe no debt is ridiculous on the grounds that we ( Pakeha) have all benefited from the those original crimes. Is it fair that Maori should only receive 5% of the value of the stolen land in recompense? Of course not, but they agreed to those terms out of their innate sense of fairness.

Response to Robin (last)

Posted on 07-10-2021 13:48 | By morepork

We cannot move into the future unless we agree to relinquish the past. (There were many injustices and not all against Maori...) I am not responsible for what my ancestors did, and, had I been there, I wouldn’t have gone along with it. The current attempt to divide the nation under He Puapua should not be allowed to happen and NOBODY of ANY Ethnicity should be supporting it. We need EQUALITY and FAIRNESS for ALL with recognition and respect for Ethnicity, but under the single banner of New Zealanders. I posted against RFR for the reasons I outlined, Robin. It has nothing to do with Race.

response to Robin (part 2)

Posted on 07-10-2021 13:42 | By morepork

Yadick says he is "sick of the divisions"; he is far from alone. Most of us want a unified future but it must be FAIR to ALL. People who need help should get it; it should NOT be dependent on the color of their skin or the fact that their ancestors were ripped off. It’s time that well-meaning Laws (like RFR) should be reviewed and removed as counter-productive to FAIRNESS. You say you believe in "justice" but the prerequisite for a justice system is FAIRNESS for all and EQUALITY under the Law. You say Maori are guaranteed special treatment by the Treaty, but I can’t find it, despite having read it many times in English and Te Reo. Sadly, an industry has arisen out of advantageous interpretation of a simple document. That has only served to discredit it in the eyes of many people; its time we agreed replacement.

In response to Robin (part 1).

Posted on 07-10-2021 13:30 | By morepork

I read both of your replies and was pleased to see a positive note at the end of the second one. I acknowledge your acknowledgement of the chip you are carrying, and understand your right to feel how you feel. But it is anachronistic in the current climate, where Maori have "never had it so good", to maintain an attitude that had some validity 50 years ago. You are ignoring all of the successful Maori people and businesses who are doing very well, the rising percentages of young Maori who are attending University and getting educated, and the contribution of Maori and Maoritanga to the culture of New Zealand. Non-Maori also are growing up and most people now are glad to see a future for ALL, that includes Maori, alongside tauiwi, for a diverse nation that can be a model to the world.

Morepork and yadick Part2

Posted on 07-10-2021 10:57 | By R. Bell

Yadick. You claim you are "Sick to death of the racial discrimination that is dividing our country" Perhaps you should get out and about more. Then you would witness the true meaning of getting on with each other. But that cannot mean ignoring past injustices that have to be reconciled. Division as you call it is in the minds of those who now see themselves as victims, largely elderly Pakeha whose dream of a utopian New Zealand was always built on either indifference or in some cases pure racism. I truly believe that New Zealand can continue to show the world that two very different races can unite and continue to build a great future. BUT. To do that we all need to recognise that compromise does not create division, recognition of recent history is NOT racist and difference is something to celebrate. Here’s hoping.

Morepork and yadick Part 1

Posted on 07-10-2021 10:31 | By R. Bell

Morepork. Much to answer, you claim I have a chip on my shoulder. I thought about that and yes I do. Justice matters to me above all else. All interaction between the crown and Maori is by definition "about race" simply because race is what drove the wording of the treaty and later Constitutional orders. To deny Maori their negotiated rights, decided just a few years ago when to compensate for the inability of the crown to pay market value in recompense for illegally taken Maori land the crown agreed that in future any land not needed by government ( central or LOCAL) Maori would be given ( RFR) at independently assed value. NOT at auction. That is NOT unfair I think you will agree. What is unfair morepork is that you and your buddies want to now renegue on that deal and others too. Not good enough.

Divide, Divide, Divide

Posted on 07-10-2021 08:32 | By Yadick

Pure racial discrimination causing greater division in NZ society. What is wrong with ’us’ people, quite simply ’we’ are sick to death of the racial discrimination that is dividing our country. History is History. It’s in past. There is no reason for anyone, no matter what race, to sit rocking in the corner with thumb in mouth saying "whoa is me". Why the hell can we not get on as one, forging ahead in a country that benefits all equally. Living in the past with a chip or a log on your shoulder eventually benefits nobody at all. Move on.

@Robin Bell

Posted on 06-10-2021 21:02 | By morepork

Robin, it is the chip on YOUR shoulder that is making this a Race issue. Injustices of the past can and should be addressed in Courts. That is NOT the issue here. The PROCESS is simply unfair. There will never be social justice for Maori or ANYBODY unless we all support what is FAIR. Eventually, past injustices have to be released. (I’m not suggesting there should not be reparation) We can start getting a better deal for EVERYBODY by making sure that public policy NOW (in the 21st century) is seen to be FAIR FOR ALL and is NOT subject to generational resentment based on past treatment.

No valid points whatsoever.

Posted on 06-10-2021 17:06 | By R. Bell

What is wrong with you people? Do you not know the history of the place you live in? Are you not aware of the theft that took place? Do you not understand why Maori should get ( RFR) and not have the indignity of bidding against even more voracious land grabbing? Why should they now have to abide by the "level playing field" that was denied them for so long? It is always humourous to hear those who have benefited from historical one sided government policy whinging when a little karma is applied. Well done TCC. at least your not obsessed by "race"

There is already...

Posted on 06-10-2021 13:13 | By morepork

... a fair way to sell public land. It’s called "Auction". I am sympathetic to the cultural needs of manu whenua and I agree there will be cases where it is right and proper for land to revert to Maori ownership. But the process of purchase has to be a level playing field with no special privileges for anyone, and the Public should get the full market value for the land. There are many mechanisms where tangata whenua can obtain financial assistance to enable them to compete in the bidding, if they require it. Selling Public land below the real value, to a specific interested group, is not in the interests of the Public, and it is unfair for any group to get special treatment that will include preventing a better outcome for the sellers. Womby and ’an alias’ make valid points. Tolley is rubber-stamping Government policy.

another nail in the coffin

Posted on 06-10-2021 09:43 | By Cptnscully

So Council are following Current govt policy of creating division between races in N.Z by offering one group priority over another. Why?

More divide and conquer

Posted on 06-10-2021 09:18 | By an_alias

So what is the reason we give one race special treatment over all others ? Tauranga to adopt this with a pretence we actually said we wanted it is an absolute farce. We have un-elected rubber stampers pushing the governments agenda no questions asked. And you then have the audacity to say we should celebrate a China like dictatorship. "Celebrate the environment and its people", you mean it has nothing to do with environment AT ALL and its people, well only a special few people. What a farce Tolley + rubber stampers have become!

Who are they exactly

Posted on 06-10-2021 07:40 | By Womby

What and or who is/are Manu whenua? Who makes these decisions as to who is first in the queue and as we all know, a valuation is actually a guesstimate as to value. Just take government valuation of your house as an example, it’s half what it’s actually worth today sometimes. For example the land at Bethlehem that was just reported this week that the council had bought for playing field but now want to use for housing. What would be the status there.

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