Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ngati Whatua in the gun for charging - shock horror - market rents for their land

Although headlines speak of a mythical generic Maori commercial entity, it is Ngati Whatua sparking plenty of squealing with the introduction of market rents on their own land despite many businesses benefiting from 15 years of ZERO rent. Poor ol' Micky-D's and KFC are facing annual rent charges of $21,000 a month and $14,000 a month. The tribe reckon the 15-year ground-rent holiday on their Quay Park land has been worth at least $460 million to iwi coffers.

Of course threats to walk away are a typical response but plenty of Canterbury businesses on the run from ongoing aftershocks would love any lease with some foot traffic and geo-stability (although aren't those volcano cones are dormant as opposed to extinct?!).

Taranaki also face hurdles in trying to extract valid rents from the powerful farming lobby which secured (through the Maori Reserved Land Act 1955) rents at 5 per cent of the unimproved value of the land. Rents were reviewed every 21 years.

Nobody said capitalism was easy. Ironically it is left to an Indigenous People to level the playing field.

Pakeha response to a rent review by Titokowaru, circa. 1868.

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Simon Lambert

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