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Niki Continues Fight for Glen Innes Home & Community

Niki Continues Fight for the Right to a Home and to a Community

Elderly (former-state) social housing tenant, Niki, has been served notice of eviction by Tāmaki Regeneration Ltd (TRL). Last week Niki was told bailiffs would arrive at 10am on Wednesday 18 October.

Six years ago Ioela (Niki) Rauti started a fight alongside a dozen other women to protect their community of Glen Innes. Just over a year ago, Tāmaki Regeneration Ltd. issued Niki an eviction notice to leave her state house of 14 Taniwha St where she has lived for 21 years. Niki has taken hundreds of supporters with her through the Tenancy Tribunal, District Court, and a few weeks ago, the High Court. She has declared and demonstrated to us all that the right to a home is one worth fighting for, that the right to the community that her parents helped build is a right worth fighting for. Even if those she is fighting against are backed by the state and by hundreds of millions of dollars (on our side, we fundraise for every single dollar).

In Glen Innes the orange signs of Tāmaki Regeneration Ltd. are everywhere, professing no one will have to leave if they don’t want to. That is not the reality in the community, at the schools, on the streets: TRL has built 92 new social houses, while 237 state houses have been removed or demolished. Hundreds have been shunted out of the community, into the private market, or into precarious and unstable living conditions (homelessness).

Tāmaki Housing Group is deeply disappointed that despite the 26 September 2017 High Court finding that the current and previous landlords had both broken the law in their processes of notice of transfer and eviction-orders, TRL continues unabated in their efforts to evict this 62-year-old kuia with a heart condition.

Niki and the Tāmaki Housing Group have been fighting the redevelopment program in Glen Innes for six years. In September 2011, 156 households in the area received notices of eviction and the Tāmaki Housing Group was born. Ever since, the Tāmaki Housing Group has been resisting plans to sell off state housing in the working class community of Glen Innes. In March 2016, 2,705 state houses were ‘transferred’ out of Housing New Zealand into a brand new company: Tāmaki Redevelopment Company (TRC). Under TRC, Tāmaki Regeneration Ltd. was created to demolish or move the houses, and then sell the land to private property development companies. Tāmaki Housing Association Limited Partnership was created to take care of tenancies. Tāmaki Housing Association is now being sold on the open market, possibly to an Australian company. The Tāmaki Housing Group, a group of mostly Māori and Pasifika wahine, has taken each of these developments to task, protested, criticised, shone light on and offered analysis on the privatisation of state housing, New Zealand’s biggest public asset, as it happens to their homes and community.

TRL has repeatedly told the media throughout 2017 that Niki has been offered a number of houses that she has turned down. The fact is that each of these houses that TRL has offered are woefully inadequate and unhealthy. We outline each as follows, not because Niki should have to open up the details of her life to anyone, but because the behaviour of TRL demonstrates the inhumanity and lack of care they have towards their tenants:

The house offered on Kotae Street firstly is earmarked to be demolished and Niki would be evicted again before the year was out. Furthermore, the house has asbestos, which was the reason houses TRL gave for demolishing the houses surrounding it.

Two different two-storey houses, one on Bunkys Way, the second on Rowena Crescent. TRL has been repeatedly offering Bunkys Way even after Niki notified them that she cannot get up the stairs because of her arthritic joints.
The house at 3 Vienna Row, which both the garage and backyard were flooded out.

TRL claims it cares for Niki, but the way this corporation treats her privately does not match up with this claim. Tāmaki Regeneration Ltd. has given Niki a time and date for bailiffs to enforce their eviction. But they have not given her a suitable alternative place to live.

TRL has repeatedly told the media that Niki Rauti needs to move so that they can redevelop the section that her home sits on. The fact is that all around the Glen Innes community are empty sections that sit dormant; all around Glen Innes are empty houses that have been boarded up for years. The simple reason for the disconnect between what TRL says and what anyone will see if they drive around Glen Innes is that ‘regeneration’ really means gentrification. Most of the new houses that have been built in Glen Innes over the last five years are private houses, where state houses used to stand. Of the 213 new builds, 121 of them have been sold on the private market, mostly for market prices.

Whaea Niki and the Tāmaki Housing Group will continue to fight in this struggle against profit, against privatisation of state housing, against government policies that are escalating this housing crisis and private market players that profit from it, and for a right to their own community.

Supporters will be re-occupying with Niki at 14 Taniwha Street from 5PM tonight, Tuesday in preparations to tautoko Niki’s defence.

“This housing nightmare is spreading out. People think it won’t affect them, but it will. All this was not on a whim. It meant something to me, it means something to me. But I’m not giving up, I’m still hoping.”


ENDS

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