12 Aug 2015

Auckland Council sells house over rates

7:47 pm on 12 August 2015

An Auckland woman whose home has been sold by the council over outstanding rates says she has instead been paying a woman who claims to be the head of a native government.

The Manurewa house.

The Manurewa house. Photo: RNZ

Charlotte Marsh, who lives at 16 Rogers Road in Manurewa, has not paid rates for five years and owed $12,000.

Her home was sold in a court-ordered auction this morning for nearly $600,000.

Standing at her front doorstep, Ms Marsh said her view on rates changed when she met a woman named Arikinui o Tuhoe.

"I own this home. I pay tithes to Arikinui o Tuhoe. They want me to pay rates to the council but the council cannot show evidential proof of ownership of it," she said.

Ms Marsh said she did not plan to budge.

Arikinui o Tuhoe was also at the sale today and claimed she wasthe rightful owner of the land.

"Before they can put anyone in the home, they haven't paid me for the land," she said.

"I own the land. I don't even ask people for rates. Like I said, Charlotte pays me a tithe."

An Auckland Council spokesperson said it had been advised Ms Tuhoe had no connection to the iwi of Tuhoe, and had informed the police.

But the police said they had not received a formal complaint and were not investigating.

Council chief financial officer Sue Tindall said the sale was a last resort after an 18-month legal process in which the woman was able to pay but refused to even communicate with council staff.

"Most of the correspondence has been returned to the council unopened, and it was only at the discussion during the adjournment of the auction this morning that the ratepayer engaged in dialogue with our staff," she said.

Ms Marsh would receive the balance of the sale price after court and agents fees were met.