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WCC Jumps The Gun Over “Bypass” Evictions

Media release below and as attachment.

For Immediate Use

10 February 2002

WCC jumps the gun over “bypass” evictions

Wellington City Council (WCC) is being taken to the tenancy tribunal over hasty and possibly illegal attempts to evict a young family living on the route of the proposed inner-city “bypass” in Wellington.

The Council has responsibility for two properties in historic Tonks Ave, which lies on the “bypass” route. On 10 December 2001 it gave tenants of these properties until 12 February 2002 to leave. This is less than the legally required notice period of 90 days for a residential tenancy – and the young family in one of the houses is fighting back.

Roland Sapsford, spokesperson for “bypass” opponents Campaign for a Better City (CBC), said this attempted eviction reflected the “sordid reality” behind WCC’s PR image of being family friendly. “WCC is even more obsessed with the bypass than Transit New Zealand and is allowing this to cloud its judgement, possibly to the point of breaking the law.”

CBC lawyers have written to the Council on behalf of the family, pointing out that the eviction notice breaches the Residential Tenancies Act. The WCC had not replied by Friday night. On Monday morning the family, with support from CBC, will apply to the tenancy tribunal for urgent action to have this eviction notice overturned.

“All tenants on the route ought to be allowed to remain in their homes and businesses until the fate of the bypass is clear” said Mr Sapsford. “WCC is being both mean-spirited and arrogant” he added, noting that the house occupied by this family is not directly in the route of the proposed road and the bypass has neither funding nor all the planning approvals it needs.

A rally in support of the evicted family is planned for noon Tuesday 12th in Civic Square.

ENDS

Further information: Roland Sapsford, CBC spokesperson, on 021 651105

KEY FACTS: * Transit New Zealand last year gave twelve other tenants on the “bypass” route eviction notices that take effect on 25 February 2002.

* Transit has not applied for construction funding for the proposed “bypass” and has yet to get Historic Places Trust authorisation for the project.

-- Roland Sapsford

roland@actrix.gen.nz; (+64-21)65-1105(m) PO Box 11-708, Manners St, Wellington, New Zealand

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