A Hamilton state house tenant who was facing eviction with two disabled adult children will now be able to stay in her house after Work and Income paid her rent arrears this morning.
Angela Eastham, 49, who was due to be evicted from her Chartwell state house this Friday, was called in to see the assistant manager at Work and Income's Five Cross Roads Hamilton East office after the Herald reported on her case today.
Housing NZ evicts Hamilton families
"They saw it this morning. They said they didn't know any of the stuff going down," Ms Eastham said.
"They have paid $3000 to Housing NZ. I was very surprised."
Her advocate, Graham McCready, had earlier threatened to launch a private prosecution against Housing NZ officials who last week told a Tenancy Tribunal hearing that Ms Eastham owed $3011 in rent arrears.
He said the officials ought to have known that Ms Eastham had been unemployed for three months, so her rent, which is set at 25 per cent of her income, should have been reduced from $332 to $62 a week.
The Residential Tenancies Act provides a penalty of up to three years in jail for anyone who "makes any assertion as to a matter of fact, opinion, belief, or knowledge knowing that assertion to be false and intending thereby to mislead the tribunal".
Mr McCready said he would still serve the prosecution notice "to put them on notice for next time", but would not take it any further because Ms Eastham could now stay in her home.
"We have won, basically," he said.
Ms Eastham, who suffers multiple sclerosis and also has a bad chest infection which has affected her voice, said she did not tell Work and Income when her truck-driving job ended because she kept getting pushed backwards and forwards between Work and Income and Housing NZ.
"I was getting pushed this way by one and that way by the other," she said. "I just gave up, to be honest. I was sick, I was tired."
She said Work and Income this morning also told her that they might be able to find her another truck-driving job.
"I drove trucks for 14 or 15 years," she said. "I'll make sure I'm well enough."