Maybe this time Housing NZ can give three pugnacious women their marching orders

The public can rejoice this morning. The right of Housing NZ to evict three frustratingly pugnacious females from their state houses in Lower Hutt has been upheld – yet again.

Take notes of the names of Robyn Winther, Huia Tamaka and Billy Taylor. If they turn up asking to rent property from you, have a hard think about the consequences should you ever have need or cause to terminate the lease.

They were served eviction notices from their Housing NZ homes in suburban Pomare in March 2009 after three Mongrel Mob gang members, who were their partners, were involved in the home invasion of a neighbouring Housing NZ tenant in 2008.

But this is a tenacious trio, fiercely determined to remain put.

So far they have sought and failed to overturn the evictions through the Tenancy Tribunal, Lower Hutt District Court, High Court, and Court of Appeal accusing HNZ of breaching the Bill of Rights.

They have suffered another rebuff after

… the Human Rights Tribunal ruled that Housing New Zealand did not end their tenancy because the men were their partners and it was not discriminating against them based on their family status.

Housing NZ is appropriately chuffed.

But it is cautious, too.

”We will be reviewing the women’s circumstances including any new circumstances and the effects of redevelopment of our housing in Pomare before any decisions on the next step is made,” a spokesperson said.

Mongrel Mob Wellington president Tai Pairama says everyone is ”gutted” (apparently not realising that Alf, for one, is far from gutted).

”We don’t know where to go from here,” he told Radio New Zealand.

”We’re pretty much scanning the papers now for accommodation and stuff like that.

After this well publicised experience, they will find it hard to find any landlord willing to oblige them.

Presumably oblivious to the grief they have caused and the amount of money they have squandered in their quixotic attempt to cling to their homes, they are reported to be hoping for a fresh start with Housing New Zealand.

But Housing Minister Phil Heatley has said he wanted the women out of state housing.

“The decision was made some time ago,” he said.

“Housing New Zealand made it quite clear there was no place in state housing for them, and I support them in that.”

The legal process and security costs had so far cost Housing NZ more than $1 million, Mr Heatley said.

For the record, the Human Rights Review Tribunal found Housing New Zealand did not end the tenancy because the men were their partners.

“Housing New Zealand was compelled to act because it believed that men who had been involved in serious acts of anti-social behaviour in the Pomare area were living at those three HNZ-tenanted properties.”

The tribunal expected Housing NZ to assess its position before any move to evict the women.

“After all, nearly 2 1/2 years have passed since the 90-day [eviction] notices were issued. In the meantime there has been no suggestion of any further anti-social behaviour.”

Twenty-seven Housing New Zealand homes in Farmer Cres have been pulled down, with a further 61 earmarked for demolition.

Two of the three women apparently faced losing their homes under the planned redevelopment.

Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins, who obviously lives in more comfortable surroundings, is reported to have blatted about Housing NZ botching the process from the start.

“The legal avenues appear to have been exhausted, I hope there can now be some constructive dialogue. This has caused major upheaval, it’s turned the community on its head.”

But Alf commends his constituents to read this opinion piece before it pays any heed to a Labour MP.

It makes an important point: the three Pomare women fighting state-house eviction have gone to considerable lengths to present themselves as victims.

They are not. The real victims in the sorry saga of Mongrel Mob intimidation in Farmer Cres are those forced to flee and the female Housing NZ worker who still lives in fear of retaliation.

Housing NZ has spent more than $1 million and 2 1/2 years trying to evict Robyn Winther, Huia Tamaka and Billy Taylor after three men associated with them were linked to one of numerous incidents of gang bullying in the troubled Lower Hutt suburb. The expense has been significant, but it is money well used.

State housing is for the most vulnerable in society, the newspaper points out – those with the least options and most in need of refuge. “They deserve to live in safety and comfort, and neighbours who deny them that lose their own right to stay.”

Just one thing: where did the women get their money to pay their legal bills? From the public purse?

If not, they might have put it to better use by building their own home.

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