7 Oct 2009

Reprieve for women in gang housing wrangle

9:18 pm on 7 October 2009

A brief reprieve has been granted to a group of women with Mongrel Mob gang connections fighting eviction from their state houses in Lower Hutt.

The families were issued with 90-day tenancy termination notices in March this year after gang intimidation in Farmer Crescent in the suburb of Pomare.

The Tenancy Tribunal and the Lower Hutt District Court have both upheld the termination notices in respect of the women's homes.

However, on Wednesday the women's lawyer asked the Wellington High Court to overturn the decisions, saying the notices breach the Bill of Rights and discriminate on the grounds of family status.

Housing New Zealand claims it has acted within the law in attempting to evict the women. It told the court on the legislation's wording makes it clear the Tenancy Tribunal had been given limited powers to inquire into allegations of discrimination.

Justice Wild has reserved his decision and ordered that the eviction notices, due to take effect at midnight on Thursday, will be put on hold until 21 days after release of his decision.

A spokesperson for the women, Tria Tamaka, says that is good news - as they were born in Pomare and it has always been their home.