A family accused of terrorising their neighbours in a case compared to an episode of the Sopranos have won a battle to stay in their Auckland state house.
But the saga is likely to continue, with Prime Minister Helen Clark wading into the row last night.
She said she was "very concerned by the decision" and would ask Housing New Zealand for an urgent report on the ruling before seeking further advice.
"We believe the neighbours," said Helen Clark, the local MP.
Housing New Zealand chief executive Lesley McTurk said the agency would consult the Solicitor-General before deciding whether to appeal to the district court.
The Tenancy Tribunal yesterday ruled in favour of Sharon Salt and her family, allowing them to stay in their home in Range View Rd, Owairaka.
Housing NZ had wanted to evict them over allegations of intimidation, loud parties and anti-social behaviour.
Tribunal adjudicator Amanda Elliot ruled that there was insufficient evidence to end the Salt tenancy and there had been only a few disruptions at the property since a breach notice was issued in January.
Mrs Salt, who has consistently said the problems were caused by three older sons no longer living at the house, declined to comment last night and a woman at the address referred all questions to the family's lawyer, John Foliaki.
He said Mrs Salt "is happy but at the same time upset about what she has been through".
She would carry on with her life as usual and wanted her neighbours to know they did not need to live in fear.
"The allegations made were malicious and false. There was talk about gang retaliation and witnesses having to be protected or move house. It was all getting out of hand," Mr Foliaki said. "At one stage, I thought I was in the middle of a Sopranos case."
Last night, neighbours the Herald spoke to were shattered by the decision. One, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals, said she was "absolutely shocked".
"It's been 12 years of hell and now the nightmare continues ... I just can't believe it, I really can't."
A man said he felt for his more vulnerable neighbours. "We've grown up here and it's pretty bad to see what has happened recently - the parties, the loud music, kids swearing and acting staunch to the neighbours.
"It sucks. They should go and leave all of these people alone."