Pomare evictions (Farmer Cres) to appeal Court decision
Three Lower Hutt families with gang connections have filed appeals against a Tenancy Tribunal decision that would see them evicted from their state houses.
They are fighting moves to get them kicked out of the suburb of Pomare after neighbours complained about intimidation, threats and burglary.
In March, five households in Farmer Cres with Mongrel Mob links were issued 90-day notices terminating their tenancies after “severely disturbing the community”.
Two of the families moved before their notices expired. But Billy Taylor, Robyn Winther and Huia Tamaka appealed to the tribunal to have the orders overturned.
The trio lodged appeals in Lower Hutt District Court this morning. The court confirmed the appeals had been lodged but no dates had yet been set for hearings.
The Tenancy Tribunal would not comment further on the matter.
In February police arrested and charged several Mongrel Mob members, some of whom were partners of the tenants in question.
In a reserved decision released yesterday, the tribunal ruled in favour of Housing NZ, after the government agency argued it was simply seeking possession of its units, as it – and any other landlord – was entitled to do as long as correct procedures were followed.
Tribunal adjudicator Karun Lakshman said a landlord had no obligation to give a reason for 90 days’ notice.
“In the present case, the reasons given by the corporation, even if unlawful, do not make the notice bad.”
Robert Lithgow, QC, who represented the women at the tribunal hearing, argued the evictions were discriminatory and breached the Bill of Rights Act.
He said his clients would appeal the decision to the District Court and this morning said the women had already drafted appeals and would seek a stay on their eviction.
He said the Government had a plan.
”They are going to have a go at the Mongrel Mob and they don’t care who they hurt on the way,” he told Radio New Zealand.
Housing NZ chief executive Lesley Turk said it was pleased to be granted the possession orders. It encouraged tenants to be good neighbours. If they chose not to their tenancies would be terminated.
Dr Turk said state tenants, like any tenants, had an obligation to abide by the tenancy agreement and “avoid disturbing the harmony of their neighbourhood”.
“If they fail to do this, then they risk losing the opportunity of living in a state home.”
The families will be given time to leave but Housing NZ said it would enforce the possession order if necessary.
It was willing to help the families find new accommodation but “to date, they haven’t taken up this offer”.
“We can now focus on making Pomare a better place to live for the 100 or so Housing NZ tenants who live there.”