Angry leaseholder activists in residential properties owned by the Cornwall Park Trust Board have launched a campaign against what they say is an unfair situation, making a film to highlight their cause.

They have launched a web site with an online petition, made a video launched in February to further their cause and are seeking signatures online.

Leaseholder John McConnell of Wheturangi Rd said 17 families had been "forced" from their homes in the last few years, as annual rent payments shot from as low as $3400/year to up to $90,000/year when 21-year leases were reviewed based on hugely escalating land values. But the board says it is acting within the law, the lessees can sell at any time if they want to and not a single lessee had won court action.

"Some lessees have challenged the trust's lease terms and renewal process in the courts. In every case and all courts, the leases and the board's actions have been upheld and the proceedings have failed," the board said in its submission to Parliament earlier this year.


Read more: Cornwall Park Trust Board submission to Parliament

McConnell said most of the 17 properties were "abandoned and untenanted."

Leaseholder and lawyer John Carter petitioned Parliament to help lessees by changing the law. Read more.

But the board told Parliament: "The board is a constituted body with authority to act is recognised in statute.. with supporting legal precedent. The board is acting according to law while the petitioners are looking to Parliament to set aside that law and previous judicial rulings. The petition is asking from Parliament a constitutional breach that would overturn the exiting lease arrangements that are set out below to interfere in this way."

The lessees' new petition says: "Resident leaseholders of Cornwall Park Trust properties are being forced to pay increased rents above market rates, or be evicted without compensation. The Trust Board has repossessed 17 homes, forcing families to leave with nothing.

"The effect on leaseholders' lives has been tragic with bankruptcies, marriage breakups and mental health issues as families lose their homes to the trust. Families are being forced to pay new rents of up to $90,000 per year or be evicted without compensation from the homes they bought, often with big debts still owing.

"Ninety more families will be forced to go unless the lease is updated. Family homes are left deteriorating and un-tenanted whilst there is a shortage of housing," the activists says.

"The remaining leaseholders will also be evicted unless the trustees update the lease as the other trusts have done," the activists said.