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Auckland City Councillors sell their grannies

Auckland City Councillors sell their grannies
21 March 2002
A shocking and heartless decision was made yesterday by the majority Auckland Citizens and Ratepayers Now (ACRN) councillors. Some of Auckland's poorest pensioners were treated as if they were mere pawns in a chess game of property accumulation as the Council, under Mayor John Banks, and Deputy Mayor David Hay, agreed to a programme to sell its pensioner housing.

Although existing pensioner tenants will be guaranteed life-time tenure in a pensioner unit, there is no guarantee that they will be able to remain in their existing home. In order for the properties to be sold over 20 years, the 53 sites comprising a total of 1700 pensioner units, will be disposed of in 5 year cycles, regardless of whether they are still tenanted.

Tenants will thus need to be relocated so that sites can be vacated and disposed of. In fact many will be forced to move at least once, and most will suffer from the uncertainty and accompanying stress of the threat of having to move. The first 249 units are to be disposed of in the next 4 years. Their occupants, in various states of health, will be forced to uproot themselves from their communities within the pensioner villages and from the wider community and placed in foreign territory. If that was not enough, their security will still not be guaranteed as their new found home, sooner or later, will also be sold.

Those on the waiting list will be used to fill up emptying sites, but will not be given a life-time tenancy and will now have to be over 65 and have a maximum of half the assets that existing tenants are allowed. This is also a shocking 'use' of the poorest elderly people who will have to be desperate to except such conditions.

"It is shocking that decisions such as these could be made in a so-called civilised society. This is more reminiscent of Dickensian times in Victorian Britain. These councillors seem to have difficulty differentiating between selling off old people's homes and selling off car parks. If these values are not challenged and this decision not reversed, it will be a very sad indictment of the state of human progress"
For further information contact Sigrid Shayer, Council Housing Action Group, ph 3611517, or Maureen Alexander ph 378 9139 and Annie Braithwaite ph 376 5084 (both pensioner tenants)

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