A Levin woman says she is depressed and in limbo after learning her home was in the path of a proposed new state highway.

Judy Ashworth says she wants NZ Transport Agency to buy her home immediately.
She said a private buyer who was about to sign a purchase agreement pulled out of the deal the day NZTA released the route for the new road that showed her home was within the proposed highway corridor.

NZTA director of regional relationships Emma Speight told the Horowhenua Chronicle NZTA's advance purchase policy required a property be put on the open market for three months before an advance purchase request could be considered.

Speight said should the property not sell on the open market NZTA would consider an advance purchase. Negotiations typically took three to six months, depending on circumstances, she said.

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"While we aren't currently actively purchasing properties for the project, property owners in special circumstances that are requesting early purchase under our advance purchase policy will have a Transport Agency property consultant work with them to explain the process and keep them informed on progress," she said.

But Ashworth said the timeframe was "ridiculous" as it was near-impossible to attract a buyer now her home was within the proposed highway corridor.

Listing the house on the open market was a waste of time. She said NZTA was now the only buyer in the picture. Real estate agents had told her they weren't interested in listing the property for sale.

Judy Ashworth says she wants NZ Transport Agency to buy her home immediately.

Ashworth said NZTA failed to acknowledge her private sale agreement last year, that she said was well above government valuation at $575,000 for the house.

"I just want to move on, preferably before I am dead," she said.

She said she was suffering from severe depression as a result of situation, compounded by kidney disease and renal failure. NZTA had offered her a counsellor, who she was visiting regularly.

Ashworth said the stress of the situation had caused a split between her and her husband of 29 years.

They were now living in separate towns, as he'd moved to Ashburton.

She said she hoped for a reconcilliation with her husband one day.

Speight said NZTA had set up an independent counselling service that was made available to property owners affected by the project "should they or someone they know need support."

"This offer was extended to all potentially affected property owners in letters they received in January and December last year," she said.

The Ashworths had lived in the Arapaepae Rd house in Levin for 23 years. Since the split Ashworth said she was living in a flat at the back of the house and had rented out the main house.

NZTA confirmed the preferred corridor for the Ōtaki to north of Levin expressway in December last year and said it was working with affected property owners on the next steps.

Levin woman Judy Ashworth wants NZTA to buy her house.
Levin woman Judy Ashworth wants NZTA to buy her house.

Both parties had to obtain registered valuations to help them reach agreement on price. Ashworth said she had recently bought a property in Timaru to be close to her only son.
"I'm stuck here and I don't want to be," she said.

"I bought it believing NZTA were going to come to the party. For them, what's the hurry? But for me, I want to get on with my life.

"They cannot play with people's lives. They have to be made accountable."

Ashworth suggested NZTA buy out those people who want to leave their homes immediately, and rent those houses out until the new road was built.

"How many people will die waiting to move on," she said.