Deportees and people with criminal or social issues are being housed at a Parnell lodge and locals say the unwelcome new comers are intimidating, abusive and committing crimes.
Residents in the blue chip suburb say drinking and fighting in the street, stealing, urinating, shoplifting and assaults are now rife and they are demanding urgent action.
The lodge owner says he has also been threatened and abused, but he will not give up the business because he needs the cash.
Parnell City Lodge sits on the corner of Parnell Rd and St Stephen's Ave.
The land is owned by the Anglican Church and leased by lodge owner Peter Van De Wiel.
Van De Wiel has owned the lodge for about 10 years. Last year he decided take on Ministry of Social Development clients who needed short term or emergency accommodation.
He confirmed today that most of the people he took in were recent deportees from Australia.
Most had issues with drugs or alcohol, or serious mental health problems - but he had no information about each person until they arrived to check in after being referred to him by Work and Income.
Since he began taking the guests, Parnell locals say they noticed a sharp rise in crime.
Business owners spoken to by the Herald reported a rise in car break-ins, thefts and damage to business, threats and intimidation, fighting and disorder, drinking and drug taking in the street.
One woman reported being physically assaulted and another was confronted by a man in her business premises who demanded "show us your t*ts".
"It's crazy, it's ridiculous," said one cafe owner.
"Everyone knows about it… I've had enough."
Another businessman said the activity was unacceptable.
"These guys have to have somewhere to live, we get that.
"They'd be living rough otherwise and they deserve somewhere to stay. It's their behaviour that's the problem, the lack of respect for people and the lack of respect for property."
The Department of Corrections confirmed one person subject to a community sentence resided at the lodge but it was not aware of any complaints.
Van De Wiel admitted he was not happy with the behaviour of some of his residents and regularly kicked people out for breaching rules.
But he always took more.
Moments before the Herald arrived he had evicted one man, who then prowled around outside the lodge drinking alcohol from a plastic drink bottle.
He could be heard shouting aggressively at other residents.
Van De Wiel said he had invested "hundreds of thousands" of dollars into the lodge and for the first nine years did not make any back.
Only since working with WINZ had he made any profit.
He said "the deportees" smoked crack, harassed his cleaning staff, and "partied" all day and night.
Most did not seek jobs or proper housing.
"They really don't give a s**t to be honest," he said.
Van De Wiel said his job was to provide accommodation, not to fix or help them.
"It's really started to get bad…. But WINZ pay quite a bit of money for this place."
According to the website rooms at the lodge are priced from $105-$135 per night.
Van De Wiel claimed he had not heard from any local residents or business owners about issues and said anyone with concerns should take them up with MSD.
"Are they (residents and business owners) going to pay for my mortgage, my rates, my water bill? I have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into this place… it's a hard job, I'm not really geared up to look after these people but (money), that's what it boils down to."
MSD Auckland regional commissioner Mark Goldsmith said the lodge was not a contracted provider.
"However clients of ours who are looking for urgent emergency accommodation choose to stay there, and we fund that through Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants," he explained.
"It's important those needing housing don't have to live in cars or sleep rough.
"Many of those staying at the lodge are vulnerable and have circumstances that make it hard for them to get accommodation in the private sector."
Goldsmith said MSD case managers work regularly with clients to help with training, employment, and putting them in touch with other relevant social services.
And while sympathetic to community concerns, "the police would be the appropriate agency to talk to in relation to any concerns about crime".
"We visited the motelier a couple of months ago, and will be in touch with him again to see if there is anything we can do to address his concerns."
Parnell Business Association Chairwoman Cheryl Adamson had contacted MSD and made them aware of the community's concern and impact.
Adamson said she was also working with the police to "monitor and manage" the situation .
Local MP David Seymour said he too had "reached out" to MSD about the "antisocial behaviour".
"It has to be stopped.
"People have to live somewhere, they have a right to be there, but at the same time people have a right not to be shoplifted, have their property urinated on, insulted and generally abused."
"WINZ is working in a difficult space but they do actually have a duty of care to the community," he said.
Auckland police area prevention manager Inspector Aaron Pascoe said he was aware of the goings on at the lodge and "potential for issues" with residents.
There had been a "small increase" in calls to police in recent months but there was no dramatic rise in crime that could be attributed specifically to the lodge residents.
Police had met with the association members last week and would be visiting businesses in the next fortnight .
"Police ask that members of the public remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity. Where anyone witnesses an offence as it occurs, or in an emergency situation, they should call police immediately on 111," said Pascoe.
The Anglican Diocese refused to comment, deferring to Trust Management who oversee the lease.
Spokesman Shane Coward said neither the church nor Trust Management could influence the activities of the leaseholder.
His lease could only be terminated or amended if ground rent was not paid.