Injured grandmother and family given reprieve

SAM BOYER
Last updated 05:00 24/07/2012
Georgina Templeton
MAARTEN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ
NOWHERE TO GO: Georgina Templeton, who has been unable to do her job since injuring her shoulder working is behind on the rent on her Strathmore state house. The family of eight had been issued with an eviction notice, but have received a reprieve.

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Housing New Zealand has backed down over the planned eviction of a family of eight.

The Templeton family were told last night that they could stay in their home in Strathmore, eastern Wellington, after pressure from local MP Annette King and the Service and Food Workers' Union led to a change of heart by Housing New Zealand.

Grandmother Gina Templeton, 52, the main breadwinner in the home, has not been paid by her employer, Spotless Services, since April, when she was placed on unpaid leave after a work injury.

Without her wage to pay the bills, she missed five weeks' rent and the family - which includes four children under 13 and a dependant adult on a mental health benefit - was served with an eviction notice by HNZ, with a deadline of 5pm last Thursday.

But the family refused to leave, saying they had nowhere else to go. About 5pm yesterday they received a welcome reprieve. "I won't be sleeping under the streetlights. It's a great relief," Ms Templeton said.

Things were now looking more positive. "I've got to get my budget going, and I'll be going back to work on rehab, that'll get going next week. And I'll just wait for my operation."

The family's plight gained the support of the Rongotai MP, Labour's Annette King, who asked HNZ to rethink their eviction decision.

"We have been working with Housing New Zealand, and with the Service [and Food] Workers' Union to see if we could get them to change their mind," she said.

"My argument to them [was], can you please look at it with some compassion. If Housing New Zealand can't be the landlord of last resort, who can be?"

An HNZ spokesman confirmed staff had visited Ms Templeton yesterday. "[It's] part of the usual process to make sure we have all the facts before a final course of action is determined."

Work and Income will help Ms Templeton repay her rent arrears, and she will repay her additional HNZ debt at $50 a week.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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