Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson said things are on track now. (Photo supplied)

The sale of Victoria University’s Karori campus has become embroiled in controversy.

The Ministry of Education is back at the bargaining table to purchase part of the site, which it handed over to the University for $10 in 2014.

Last month negotiations broke down between the Ministry and the University.

The Ministry understood it was exclusively negotiating for land under the Public Works Act while the university thought that process had finished, and is aiming to list the site on the open market.

Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson said things are on track now.

“Ministry of Education still have an interest in part of the site and as far as I’m aware they are continuing to pursue that interest and as a result of that the public works act processes is not over.”

After an eleventh hour meeting, Mayor Justin Lester said it’s too late for the Ministry of Education to purchase back the whole site.

“They can’t then go away from that and amend at this late stage so they are working in line with what the original expectations were.”

Open market bids on the site are due today.

However, outrage has grown after it was revealed that the university has been exempt from paying the Crown a share of the site.

Because the university is selling it within five years of the Ministry giving it to them, it’s meant to pay back 20 percent of net profits to the Government.

The National Government decided to waive that, and people are not happy.

Local councillor Diane Calvert said the money should’ve gone back to the local community since tax payers paid for the land in the first place.

“To help them fund the purchase of some of the sites, for more community facilities, to help support social enterprises, for some commercial activity.”

She said the decision lacks transparency.

“They did not advise us. We raised the matter of the 20 per cent. And no one formally has told us that they’d already decided to return it to Vic University.”

Source: NewstalkZB


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