Hastings council candidate Jason Whaitiri's mother and siblings have refuted his claim that the tenancy tribunal found in his favour over a dispute around a tenancy agreement he had with his mother, Mei Whaitiri.
The case was aired in an open tenancy tribunal hearing this month, and yesterday Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP and Minister of Customs Meka Whaitiri and whanau issued a statement about the tribunal ruling.
"It's regrettable that our brother Jason Whaitiri has chosen to make public a very private family matter," they said.
"We are pleased with the tribunal's decision to quash the 90 day eviction notice Jason served our mother and uphold her right to remain in the family home.
"We refute the statements contained in Jason's letter to the editor printed in the Hawke's Bay Today on Monday, November 20.
"We love our brother and will not be making any further statements."
Mr Whaitiri bought the family home from his parents for below market value in 1997, and the family maintained that he agreed in informal, undocumented discussions to allow his parents to remain living there.
A residential tenancy agreement was signed in 2012.
In May this year, through his company Olive 06, Mr Whaitiri engaged Pukeko Rental Managers and a notice of rent increase was issued, raising the rent from $200 a week to $280 a week.
In the ruling, a copy of which was obtained by Hawke's Bay Today, adjudicator Bryan King said it was clear that Mrs Whaitiri took exception to strangers becoming involved in what she saw as whanau business and the situation became strained.
On June 9 this year a notice was issued to Mrs Whaitiri that the tenancy would terminate on September 8 and that she was required to vacate by that date.
The applicant (Pukeko Rental Managers) then applied to the tribunal to recover possession of the property.
"These proceedings have been adjourned on several occasions at the parties' request to allow them the opportunity to try and negotiate a settlement.
"The tribunal referred the parties to mediation in the hope that the assistance of a skilled tenancy mediator might help these negotiations.
"Mrs Whaitiri did not feel able to participate so, to the regret of everyone involved, the matter came before the tribunal for hearing," Mr King said.
The applicant's position was straightforward - that the parties were parties to a residential tenancy agreement, and under the agreement the landlord was entitled to terminate the agreement by notice.
Mrs Whaitiri's position was that she held the lease for life at below market rent or that the property was the subject of a constructive trust in favour of Mrs Whaitiri, which entitled her to lifetime occupancy with contribution payments at below market rent, the ruling said.
After deliberation, Mr King ruled that the residential tenancy agreement was valid and enforceable.
He also ordered that having waived the right to do so, the landlord may not end the tenancy by notice under the Residential Tenancies Act.
"The termination notice issued by the applicant dated 9 June 2017 is accordingly void and of no effect."
He ordered that the parties bear their own costs in connection with the hearing.
Mrs Whaitiri remained living in the house, and on November 20 Mr Whaitiri wrote a letter to the editor saying he was pleased the tribunal had found in his favour.
He said he had no further comment to make on the matter.