Opposition to a proposed Housing New Zealand (HNZ) complex in an up-scale Auckland suburb turned fiery last night as angry residents told a public meeting they had been left out of the planning loop.
HNZ in April applied to the Auckland Council to build a five-storey complex on land it owns on Banff Ave, Epsom.
It plans to demolish a residential building which it says has become uninhabitable.
The housing agency was not required to notify the neighbourhood about its plans.
The meeting, at the our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church, drew about 80 people.
Residents claimed they last heard about the development in an HNZ letter around Christmas, saying it was looking into a feasibility study for a project.
The plan is for 25 units, including 16 one-bedroom apartments and nine two-bedroom apartments, to be completed in 2020.
Banff Ave resident Clare Turner said she was concerned about the safety of children on the already busy street and a lack of parking.
She also had concerns for her daughter if there were more people in the HNZ units like the tenants of the empty complex.
"My daughter should be able to go to the BP down the road for icecream and not be afraid."
Act leader and Epsom MP David Seymour, who was asked to moderate the meeting, had to step in when residents took exception to responses from HNZ representatives. He described the tone of the meeting as "uncivilised" and urged people to listen.
Faraj Marrow, who lives one block over from Banff Ave, said the community had issues with the previous HNZ tenants. The now unoccupied building was a frequent scene of orgies, parties, prostitution and hard drug use, he claimed.
HNZ said it would have a property manager visit the site daily as well as case managers calling on tenants with issues. The tenants would be mostly small families and elderly pensioners, HNZ said.