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'Ghetto' days are numbered

EMMA WHITTAKER
Last updated 05:00 09/11/2012
Nabiyou Tefera
JASON OXENHAM/ Fairfax NZ

MOVING ON: Nabiyou Tefera will be quite happy to leave the run-down state house he shares with his daughter Debra when it is demolished.

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Plans to demolish 19 "ghetto" looking state houses are drawing a mixed reaction.

Housing New Zealand (HNZ) will clear the properties in Sandringham's Haverstock Rd and sell the sections to a private buyer.

The future of the 1950s- era houses has been under review for three years.

They are extremely run-down and six are completely boarded up.

In August Dianne Pomare contacted the Central Leader calling for HNZ to take action.

She is the principal of the Maori language immersion school Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Nga Maungarongo which neighbours the development.

"Even the houses that still have families living in them don't get taken care of and the fences are falling down," she says.

"It's so ugly. It just gives the whole area a ghetto look."

The principal says it's a shame the houses have been sitting in such poor condition for so long when there are so many needing somewhere to live.

There are more than 300 people on the waiting list for state houses in central Auckland.

Ms Pomare was hoping the Haverstock Rd properties would be fixed up or rebuilt.

"This decision doesn't help our families who need help. It'll be good for the private buyers because it will push the prices up around here. For our parents it's even less likely that they'll be able to get a state rental, or any other rental in the area.

"There will also be noise and inconvenience when they're demolished. It's only a narrow street," she says.

The selling price of a stand-alone four bedroom house in the area can be as much as $800,000, says HNZ's acting asset development manager Nicolas Giraldo.

"Income-related rents on these properties if they were redeveloped would be inadequate to justify redeveloping them," he says.

Mr Giraldo says selling the sections will raise funds to develop state housing in more financially viable areas.

One area he is tipping for significant development is Papakura where HNZ owns a 24ha block of vacant land.

The 13 tenants who live in the Haverstock Rd houses will be moved out by January. They haven't been told where they are relocating to, but many say they won't mind leaving.

Nabiyou Tefera shares one of the two-bedroom houses with his wife, father and four children.

He's happy in the street, but says the state of the house he's lived in for 12 years is not ideal.

Students from a nearby high school come to the boarded up houses to smoke and there is a lot of graffiti.

Another resident says she can't wait to go.

"They're as bad inside as they are outside," she says. "We've been waiting for a new place for ages."

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- Central Leader

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