20 Nov 2011

Tenants pitch tents as they bid to stop demolition of houses

4:27 am on 20 November 2011

Members of a Lower Hutt community have started an occupation of a section of land that is to be developed into new housing.

Nearly 100 houses are being knocked down ahead of a redevelopment, with a mix of Housing New Zealand and private housing.

About 20 people were at the Farmer Crescent location on Saturday on land where some houses were demolished. About half of the houses in the area have already been taken down.

The street was the centre of a long-running court battle between Housing New Zealand and three partners of Mongrel Mob members, who were fighting eviction.

In August the Human Rights Review Tribunal rejected the case and asked Housing New Zealand to reflect carefully about whether pursuing the evictions any further was necessary.

Spokesperson Patria Tamaka says five tents have been set up and more are expected as other people arrive.

She says the group has four key issues that it wants Housing New Zealand to address, including the option of allowing everybody to return if they want to, but she says this has been rejected.

"We've brought those issues up every single time at every single meeting we go to an they keep getting rejected."

Ms Tamaka says Housing New Zealand told her in a telephone conversation that it may look one of the key issues - a partnership option with the community.