Protest at plans to kick out state house tenants

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

About 100 families living in state homes will be moved to other areas amid plans for a redevelopment project in Glen Innes. Photo  / Thinkstock
About 100 families living in state homes will be moved to other areas amid plans for a redevelopment project in Glen Innes. Photo / Thinkstock

Residents upset at a move to kick out more than 100 families living in Housing New Zealand homes in Glen Innes will vent their anger in a protest tomorrow.

Dozens of angry residents are expected to march down Apirana Avenue and Taniwha St, towards the Housing New Zealand building and shopping centre, in a bid to stop a redevelopment project in the area from going ahead.

A Facebook page - called Call for Action - has been set up, telling residents being told to move out to fight back and stay put.

About 100 people turned out at a protest in the Glen Innes shopping hub yesterday afternoon, armed with signs and chanting their disapproval.

One sign read: "Born & raised in G.I. Here to stay."

The protest was organised by Mana Tamaki Makaurau candidate Kereame Pene, who was also joined by fellow member John Minto.

People of all ages stood outside the Housing New Zealand building in the shopping centre, before police officers led the group away.

It comes as Housing New Zealand is working on a redevelopment project in the area.

Dubbed the northern Glen Innes redevelopment project, it would see up to 156 Housing New Zealand homes demolished.

They are to be replaced with 260 new homes, however the majority of those would be privately sold while 78 properties would remain state homes.

Residents at the protests yesterday were hesitant to have their names published, as they felt it would affect their families' chance of being re-housed in the area.

One woman, who only wanted to be called Tina, said some elderly relatives had been told to pack up, after living in their state home for the past 20 years.

She said the couple - who were both in their 70s - were distraught and particularly upset at the way they were told to leave.

"They were told to get up and leave in a letter. There was no consultation whatsoever, no meeting to discuss what would be happening. Nothing. Just a letter saying: 'Go'."

They received the letter in September and are expected to be out by the middle of next year.

The couple has been offered a new home at an apartment complex in Panmure - something completely unsuitable for their needs, Tina said.

"They are in their mid-seventies. They can't climb stairs. It's not practical for them."

Yesterday afternoon Housing New Zealand released a statement promising that Glen Innes tenants would be re-housed in other state houses.

"Plans for the proposed project are still in the very early stages, so families can remain living in their homes until at least mid-2012."

The statement said the number and size of the state housing in the Glen Innes area will change next year.

"There, while we cannot guarantee families will be able to return to new housing in the area, they can always apply for a transfer to one of the homes once they are completed."

Tomorrow's protest will start at 10am.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n1 at 16 Sep 2014 18:07:41 Processing Time: 416ms