Lower Hutt Gang linked Farmer Cres households take legal action

Gang-linked households facing eviction from Lower Hutt’s troubled Farmer Cres are taking legal action to avoid being forced out.

They have also lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, claiming the forced eviction bid unfairly punishes women and up to 16 children.

Tenants in five state houses in the street were given 90 days to leave by Housing New Zealand in March after claims of intimidation by Mongrel Mob members living at the addresses.

“No-one’s packed and no-one’s going to move,” an affected resident told The Dominion Post yesterday. “Housing NZ can’t do this. They can’t get rid of us before [the Mongrel Mob members] have had their day in court. That street is our home.”

Police allege three patched Mob members ordered a female neighbour and her two children out of their Farmer Cres home on February 1.

The five women listed on the tenancy agreements, who are understood to be on benefits and may qualify for legal aid, have hired a lawyer to gain an injunction and fight the evictions through the Tenancy Tribunal.

The notices were among the first issued under a Housing NZ plan to deal with its most troublesome tenants. Two weeks ago the tenants filed their complaint with the Human Rights Commission.

Though the tenants had to be out of Farmer Cres by June 1, none were willing to go, the affected resident said.

She claimed her nine-year-old son had been dragged out of bed by armed police during a February early-morning raid and had watched in tears as his father was arrested on the floor.

Three gang members arrested in the raid appeared in Lower Hutt District Court yesterday on joint intimidation charges.

One of the trio is being held in custody and a depositions hearing is scheduled for July. Long-time Farmer Cres resident Patria Tamaka confirmed the women were taking legal action and were prepared to fight the evictions all the way to the High Court if necessary.

Housing NZ’s tough new national policy, designed to sidestep the Tenancy Tribunal, follows a two-year legal battle to get the Salt family dubbed “the neighbours from hell” evicted from an Auckland state house.

A Housing NZ spokesman was unaware of any legal action or human rights complaints from Farmer Cres.

He said the residents had to be out by June. Housing Minister Phil Heatley would not comment on the legal action, saying it was a procedural matter.

Housing NZ came under fire when confidential documents were sent out with the Farmer Cres eviction notices forcing a Housing NZ manager who lived nearby to leave her home.

Labour Maori affairs spokesman Parekura Horomia said Housing NZ’s “monumental botch-up” around the evictions cast serious doubts on its decision making.

“I’m concerned about the effect on the women and children. Housing NZ have really really rushed this.

via Dominion Post

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