12 Aug 2011

Demolitions anger state house tenants

10:33 pm on 12 August 2011

People from the Lower Hutt suburb of Pomare say they'll march on Parliament unless the Government promises to rebuild about 100 state houses in their community that are being demolished.

Lower Hutt mayor Ray Wallace says 27 houses have so far been pulled down and about another 70 are vacant and earmarked for destruction by Christmas.

Mr Wallace says close to 100 people attended a meeting in Pomare on Thursday and decided to protest if the Minister of Housing doesn't give an assurance in the next two weeks the houses will be rebuilt.

He says people evicted from the houses want to return to the suburb while other residents feel their community is being obliterated.

Mr Wallace says staff at Pomare Primary School are concerned the school will have to close if the roll continues to dwindle.

Housing New Zealand said on Friday it would decide on how to rebuild Pomare by Christmas at the latest.

Director of operations Sarah Hill says its board has asked for more information about development options. This includes a mix of state and rental housing, state and private ownership, and community housing.

Eviction decision reserved

The future remains unclear for three Hutt Valley women linked to the Mongrel Mob who are fighting their eviction from state houses in Pomare.

The Human Rights Review Tribunal on Thursday reserved its decision after a week-long hearing in which the women argued they were being illegally discriminated against because of their relationships with gang members causing trouble in the area.

In a closing submission, their lawyer, Mark Lillico, told of the 14 children affected in the case.

He said it would be awful if the stability in life that their mothers had achieved was unravelled by the evictions from the suburb, a place they have strong ties to.

Housing New Zealand lawyer Steve Haszard urged the tribunal to remember the other, equally vulnerable tenants of the neighbourhood, whose ability to get safe, secure housing was being prejudiced by escalating violence and intimidation.

A final ruling was expected within a month.