Young families and elderly residents with limited English skills are among Panmure residents being evicted from their apartments to make way for Auckland Council's new eastern busway.

The $1.2 billion Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative aims to speed up public transport times between the city and eastern suburbs by building dedicated bus lanes.

But the 22 Auckland Council-owned apartments on Basin View Lane are deemed to lie in the bus ways path and are now marked for demolition.

Residents were told by letter on June 1 that they must vacate by September 2, having earlier been pre-warned in September 2017 the vacate notices would be coming.

Yet for some elderly residents, who have lived in the block for 30-years and are now restricted to using mobility scooters to get around, finding new rentals won't be easy.

Geoff Kaye, a resident of an apartment block on Basin View Lane in Panmure is upset the block is to be demolished to make way for a bus lane. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Geoff Kaye, a resident of an apartment block on Basin View Lane in Panmure is upset the block is to be demolished to make way for a bus lane. Photo / Jason Oxenham

One couple have little English and others in the complex worry the pair may not even know they are being evicted, resident Geoff Kaye said.

He and his wife were also having a tough time looking at new rentals, despite hunting all last month.

"We've been to 27 viewings, they are all either too expensive or by the time we get there they've gone," he said.

With so many families affected and rentals hard to find in Auckland's fever pitch housing market, the Panmure residents are calling on Auckland Council to provide them with greater help and flexibility.

Ian Wheeler, portfolio management director for Panuku Development Auckland, an offshoot of Auckland Council managing about $2 billion of council land, said his team had been doing its best to help the tenants.

Panuku first contacted tenants about the AMETI project last September, before sending a letter in January telling them it would be issuing a formal notice to vacate later in the year, he said.

Residents at this apartment block on Basin View Lane in Panmure have until September 2 to vacate their homes. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Residents at this apartment block on Basin View Lane in Panmure have until September 2 to vacate their homes. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Once notice to vacate came in June, a property manager kept in regular contact and put them in touch with agencies, such as Housing New Zealand, WINZ, Ministry of Social Development and local real estate agents, who could help them find new rentals.

A list of tenants with special need had also been drawn up as needing extra support services, while Panuku was "working to assess" whether some could be moved to other vacant Auckland Council-owned properties.

Panuku also contacted the families of those who did not speak English as a first language.

But Kaye disputed this, saying residents had banded together and he had been writing to local MPs to draw attention to their plight because they weren't happy with Auckland Council's help.

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He said the Panmure complex's property manager had simply told the residents they must be out by September 2 or possibly face Tenancy Tribunal action.

He understood the daughter of the elderly man who spoke little English lived overseas and that residents were "almost certain he doesn't know what is going on".


For Kaye and his wife, meanwhile, the hunt for a new home continues.

"With the way housing is in Auckland it has become increasingly hard to find anything that is within a budget of two people on one income," he said.