Home eviction case: 'I haven't broken any laws' - mother

The woman living in a state house who Housing New Zealand is trying to evict, says she has done nothing wrong and wants to stay in her home.

Sharon Salt and her family were ordered to leave 39 Range View Road in Owairaka by midnight on Friday after a Tenancy Tribunal hearing found serious breaches of their agreement with Housing NZ.

Housing NZ was granted the right to terminate the rental agreement last week, after two Tenancy Tribunal hearings were not attended by the family or their lawyer.

The family's lawyer John Foliaki said at the weekend the mother had been too unwell to attend and had not had a chance to defend herself.

Yesterday Mr Foliaki appealed to the tribunal for a rehearing, which Housing NZ did not oppose, so a third hearing was scheduled for June 22.

It was understood Housing NZ did not object to the rehearing as it did not want to slow the tribunal hearing down.

Mrs Salt said today she had done nothing wrong, "I'm just trying to get by".

"I don't know what's going on, I haven't broken any laws, I'm not a criminal."

Mrs Salt said her health had improved enough for her to attend the hearing yesterday and she hoped to be at the hearing on June 22.

Mrs Salt said Mr Foliaki was in a better position to tell her story but media comments and reports had not been helpful.

Reports that neighbours were unhappy and frightened by her family were confusing, she said.

"I've spoken to some neighbours and they're happy, they have no problems."

A Housing NZ spokesman said he could not comment about the legal proceedings but said evidence presented by police was not in dispute.

The order of the Tenancy Tribunal, dated June 7, was initially granted due to the "serious interference with the peace, privacy and comfort of the neighbourhood".

The order spoke of the "ongoing fear and trepidation "including fear of recriminations being experienced by neighbours (as confirmed to the Tribunal by the New Zealand Police)".

The spokesman said several Housing NZ people had been sent to meet with the Salt family to talk about their options and ensure they were in contact with the necessary agencies.

Despite taking a "firm and compassionate" stance, the spokesman said if Housing NZ gets its way, the tenant would not remain in Housing NZ accommodation.

An Auckland city police spokeswoman said despite comments by Mr Foliaki that no neighbours were upset or had made complaints about the Salt family the evidence against the family was stark.

A neighbour, Madeline, says fireworks have been shot at her windows and bottles have been thrown at her car by gangs of youths. She says it is terrifying to drive into the street and have dozens of grown boys in gang regalia yelling abuse.

Madeline says she has lived in the same streets as Mongrel Mob and Black Power gangs and in her opinion the Salt family is equally as threatening.

The woman is frustrated the Salts will not just leave peacefully and says she cannot stop crying. She says the residents of Range View Rd feel sorry for whoever will have the family as neighbours next, but they just want to feel safe again. Madeline states the family has been a nuisance for years and Housing New Zealand needs to take some of the blame for allowing them to stay.


- NZPA, NEWSTALK ZB

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