24 Dec 2013

Pensioners shocked at housing move

10:44 am on 24 December 2013

Some residents of a Housing New Zealand pensioner complex in central Auckland say they are distressed and shocked they may be moved out of their homes.

The agency has put a 42-unit apartment complex in Freemans Bay out for expressions of interest for redevelopment, which means people could be relocated.

Housing New Zealand says the current proposal would see at least 80 new flats built. It envisages leasing back 42 of the new units, with the remainder sold privately.

Resident Bob Tait says when most people moved into the units they were told they would have the homes for life.

"The old people here, or the very elderly, are deeply shocked that these assurances they've been given by both the council and the earlier government are being disregarded by Housing New Zealand, and I think it's a betrayal."

Housing New Zealand is assuring residents that if they are relocated it won't be for a few years. The agency said its Auckland regional manager has visited tenants to explain the situation.

General manager of tenancy services Kay Read said the agency wants to maximise the site's potential, which is about 6,000 square metres.

Bob Tait, a retired researcher who has lived at the complex for four years, said residents were told in October about a possible redevelopment but had no idea until now that they could lose their homes.

He says a representative from Housing New Zealand was at the complex on Monday but the residents still don't have a straight answer.

He says there is a strong comunity spirit at the centre which is being threatened.

"If someone's crook, some else goes down and gets their shopping, I mean it's not paradise, but we're very fortunate to live there and we try and look after one another and that whole community thing is at risk if we're just dispersed whererever there's a vacant spot."