State of torment

16:00, Mar 18 2014
Grey St
CLOSED DOORS: State flat tenants at Greys Ave say they want out.

Get us out of here.

That's the plea from state tenants dealing with people who break down doors, vomit and urinate on doorsteps, host gang meetings, drop used needles and have all-night benders in a block of state flats on Greys Ave.

None of the seven tenants who spoke to the Auckland City Harbour News would be named for fear of retribution.

But one couple that has lived in the building for seven years says the state of the property is horrific.

The residents say people are being let through security doors at night and adding to the problem.

"It's just so offensive what they're doing . . . they don't have any respect for themselves or anyone else."


One woman says her front door was once smashed in by a gang member. The intercom system has been out of order since October, despite frequent requests to fix it, she says.

"They're telling us not to let anyone in if they're dodgy but we can't even communicate with them. It's not a safe home."

Another tenant in her 50s has been "begging" to be transferred out of the building since 2008.

She says she had Mongrel Mob members living in the flats on either side of her for two years until they were evicted in 2013. "Imagine living between gang members, what you hear through these walls. I've been begging to move for years. I'm just not a priority," she says.

One male resident says the situation has improved a bit over the last year but there are still some serious issues. "How many complaints do you have to make before they do anything?"

Auckland City Police inspector Vaughn Graham says police have stepped up their efforts to address safety concerns at the building.

He says staff are working with Housing New Zealand to boost public safety.

Central-based Labour list MP Jacinda Ardern says security doors being left open has been an issue for years and street-dwellers sometimes come in to squat on the roof.

"People desire a safe, decent place to live. At the moment Greys Ave, in lots of ways, is neither. I know some fantastic people living there but there are absolutely legitimate safety concerns at the same time."

St John spokesman Dave Worsley says ambulance officers are careful about going into the Greys Ave building.

Officers are aware of the potential for incidents there and can request a police presence if necessary, he says.

Housing New Zealand is currently looking for developers to refurbish the ageing 87-unit building. The tender closes on April 14.

Central Auckland regional manager Neil Adams says overall feedback from tenants has been positive.

It is too early to discuss whether tenants will be relocated, he says.

"At Greys Avenue we encourage tenants to report anti-social behaviour to staff who work from our on-site office on the ground floor of the building. Our presence on site also ensures tenant concerns are dealt with promptly."


Auckland City Harbour News