Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Politicians feel heat over housing project

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

Residents angry at a move to boot out a number of people living in Housing New Zealand homes shut down politicians at a heated public meeting last night.

Around 300 people turned out to a meeting at the Grace International Church in Glen Innes to voice their concerns about a redevelopment project in the area.

Up to 157 residents in Housing New Zealand homes in the northern part of Glen Innes will have to move out as part of the Tamaki Transformation Programme.

Under the project, people will have to move out as 260 homes are set to be built.

There is no guarantee, however, that the displaced residents can move back.

A number of locals stood up and gave testimonials, telling their families' stories.

Moepai Temata said she and her husband Michael had lived in their home for 47 years.

They received a letter in September informing her of the new project in the area and what that meant - she and her husband had to pack up.

"The week after that, I got another letter. The third week, a lady came to the door. She said, 'Come with me, let me take you to Kings Rd in Panmure'.

"I said to her, 'I still haven't had a warning and here you are, here to take me out of my house. I don't want to go," Mrs Temata said.

A number of politicians turned out also, including Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples, the National MP for Maungakiekie, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, and Labour's candidate in Tamaki, Nick Bakulich, who all stood up and said they sympathised with those affected.

Mr Lotu-Iiga's speech started off fine, as he acknowledged the death of the National MP for Tamaki, Allan Peachey.

But as he began talking more about the issue, he was shut down by a number of people in the crowd.

One man stood up and told the MP: "You want us to move out to South Auckland? You want to move the lower class to bring in who? The high class!"

Mr Lotu-Iiga tried desperately to calm the situation, but was forced to cut his speech short when members of the public called out to him to sit down.

Mrs Temata said: "We raised five children underneath that roof, 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

"The fruit trees that we planted for each child that we had are bearing fruit now."

- NZ Herald

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