Len Brown betrays Maori and Pacifika families in favour of a Remuera-by-the-Sea


images-2No matter how the National Party and Len Brown try to tart it up the so-called Tamaki redevelopment programme is nothing short of ethnic and social cleansing of Glen Innes, Point England and Panmure.

Maori and Pacifika families on low-incomes are to be shunted out to make way for McMansions for the rich around the lovely Tamaki estuary.

And so yesterday morning Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Housing Minister Nick Smith met in Glen Innes to launch a “draft blueprint” for the redevelopment of Tamaki. The meeting was not advertised to avoid protest from local residents but with last minute notice a group of locals turned up to hold Brown, Smith, their property developer mates and hand-picked local collaborators to account.

The redevelopment is already well underway but community resistance and anger is growing and this latest “launch” (there have been several so far) is yet another attempt to override and stiffle local opposition.

Last week a protest against three state houses being moved saw local residents hurl dozens of large wheelie bins across the road in front of the trucks while a large police contingent tried to manage community anger.

In launching the blueprint Len Brown said “the challenge now is to ensure new homes and economic development are delivered in a way that supports the aspirations of local residents and builds strong and resilient communities.” Yeah right.

There is already a community in Glen Innes but Brown’s plans are to dismember it. The first stage involves halving the number of state houses from 156 to 78 and is already well underway.

Brown talks a lot about the need for affordable housing but this redevelopment will bring LESS affordable housing as income-related rentals are replaced with market rents for some of the most vulnerable families in Auckland.

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Greedy developers are salivating over their glossy plans which will bring rich pickings from privatised land formerly housing state tenants.

Led by Martin Udale of Cranleigh merchant bankers the developers are preparing to gorge themselves on windfall profits from privatising state land. They think they are in developer heaven but I think their problems are only just beginning.

Once upon a time Len Brown would have been a champion of the low-income families in Glen Innes but he’s now a champion of the National Party’s plans to change GI into Remuera-by-the-Sea.

Low-income families are to be forced out of the area altogether or moved to clustered, high-rise apartments near the town centre which will look like an urban slum in five years.

All the locals accept that the Tamaki area needs investment and redevelopment but the current plans are nothing more than relocation of the poor to benefit the rich.

The only sensible way forward is for Brown and Smith to eat some humble pie and agree to a moratorium on the housing redevelopment to allow time for re-engagement and negotiation on what is appropriate to support and sustain the existing Glen Innes community.

The protests are led by a staunch group of local Maori and Pacifika women and Len Brown would be wise to stop trampling on their whanau.

I think the mayor and the government have bitten off more than they can chew.


  1. If Auckland Council and HNZ are serious (cough, cough) about housing affordability then they need to find something other than the usual throw-them-out-and-leave-it-to-the-almighty-market.

    Imagine what could be achieved if a truly innovative approach was used:
    – current residents are consulted and are involved in the design and implementation of new housing that achieves the desired increase in density alongside a strengthening of current community networks and ties (Danish co-housing model comes to mind)
    – resultant houses are kept affordable in perpetuity, discouraging investment owners, and encouraging residents to become homeowners,
    – a proportion of homes are kept as permanent rental housing to ensure diversity and allow people to move within the community when required.

    What would be needed:
    – a realisation that housing is more than built form, affordability is more than the cost of the building, and healthy communities provide both support and encouragement to those that live within them,
    – a contract with co-housing developers and advisors
    – financial oversight
    – planning advice and support provided by Auckland Council
    – HNZ (or government) seeding development loans provided until development reaches a point where ordinary mortgages are able to be obtained
    – last but not least, an acknowledgement that the current method is unlikely to meet stated aims.

    Innovation is often spoken of, Glen Innes would be a good place to see it being used for once.

    • len brown did not force Auckland city to become a supercity.the act/national party did.it is nick smith and govt putting pressure on Auckland and len brown to make the changes.i guess the logic is if new houses are worth more than old ones the council receive more money from rates based on land/property values. housing nz own the properties not len brown.the money raised from sales can go into other projects to build houses for low income people. but mr minto may want the high paid job so blame the other guy can often work.

      • I don’t doubt that Mr Brown is a nice man, but that is precisely the problem. Like the loyal hound Mr Brown rolls over for the national belly scratch. We need a mayor who will lead Auckland against the imposition of Wellingtons policy. Believe that Minto has been a staunch defender of democracy and morality, even if it has caused him to run afoul of ‘unjust’ laws. Minto will stand up to Wellington for Aucklands interests.

        Wellington has already threatened to remove Aucklands democracy and directly follow whatever construction plan they please. Furthermore on Campbell live when confronted over Aucklands transport problems he bemoaned the falling income for fuel tax as Aucklanders were driving increasingly efficient cars, how very dare they!

        To ensure Auckland becomes the vibrant self-determining, empowered city it should be, it can be, a showdown between central and local government is enevitable, their interest run in contrary directions. When that decisive moment comes would you rather have standing next to you, “yes sir, no sir” or “stronger together”

  2. “Low-income families are to be forced out of the area altogether or moved to clustered, high-rise apartments near the town centre which will look like an urban slum in five years.”

    Regurgitating the right-wing line that high density housing = slums? Shame on you, John. We should be pushing for GOOD high-density housing, not appealing to the right-wing developer narrative which wants to sink more fertile farmland under endless suburbs.

    Agree that the GI social clearance must be stopped, but an Auckland of single dwelling sprawl stretching out to Huntly isn’t a good future for workers.

  3. 3 or 4 weeks ago I went to a G I residents meeting, which you also attended, where the residents affected by this misguided policy met with Labour Party reps. On the basis of their own comments I can safely say that they would be quite happy with, if not ethnic cleansing, ethnic-banning-from-Glen-Innes, if it involved Asians, Indians, and foreigners generally. These policies hurt poor people, regardless of ethnicity, & it isn’t simply a race thing on a govt level. Even if it was, the affected people are way more racist than the government. Sorry, but it’s just a fact, although thank goodness they seem to include Pacific Islanders in “Kiwis”.

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