The Government appears near to a settlement of the long-running Ihumatao land dispute in Auckland.

Executives from Fletchers, who own the disputed land, are expected to meet Finance Minister Grant Robertson today.

POLITIK understands the settlement could involve the Government assisting the Auckland Council to purchase the land to create a heritage park.

The proposal that the Council buy the land was proposed back in May by its Heritage Advisory Panel then chaired by now-former Councillor, Mike Lee.

The panel met with the Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) protest group which has been occupying the 32-hectare site for three years to stop Fletchers from developing it into  480 homes.

But in September, after six weeks of talks involving the Kingitanga movement led by King Tuheitia ended with a bland declaration that the land should be returned to the manua whenua but with no proposal as to how that might happen.

Fletchers expressed its frustration with this at the time.

“We have not been a party to those discussions, and we are disappointed to see they have not produced a resolution,” it said in a statement at the time.

“We will now seek urgent discussions with all parties to inform our position.”

Opposition Leader Simon Bridges has persistently called on the Government to not negotiate over the purchase of the land.


And while they don’t appear to have been directly involved in recent weeks, they have obviously kept a close eye on what has been going on.

Instead, the matter has been left with the Auckland Mayor to resolve.

That may provide a neat — but slightly transparent solution.