Horowhenua community housing transfer discussed behind closed doors

A public excluded meeting on Tuesday will discuss selling 115 Horowhenua District Council owned housing units.
Nicholas McBride

A public excluded meeting on Tuesday will discuss selling 115 Horowhenua District Council owned housing units.

Pensioner housing in Horowhenua could soon shift hands as the council is given recommendations on its proposed sale.

A public excluded meeting in Levin on Tuesday will discuss the transfer of 115 Horowhenua District Council owned housing units after an evaluation panel heard from potential buyers.

The council may sell its housing units in Levin and Foxton, as well as one hectare of residential development land in Levin, despite opposition from some community members.

Grey Power Horowhenua vice president Lew Rohloff​ said there needed to be more consultation with pensioners before a sale took place.

READ MORE: 
Horowhenua pensioners worried new housing providers will hike rent 
Council should hold on to Horowhenua pensioner housing, says Annette King
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Joint Horowhenua council, Housing NZ housing transfer won't happen
Mayor Feyen wants to keep pensioner homes as income source

Consultation was only partially completed in 2016 and it did not result in a firm discussion with affected people, Rohloff said. 

"We very much hope that once the meeting has been held, [the] council will engage further with the community."

Rohloff hoped the council would change its mind on the sale. He was anxiously awaiting the outcome of the meeting, he said.

Mayor Michael Feyen said the only real opportunity for the public to talk was at one council meeting and a chat over food with pensioners.

"I recall they pretty much only remembered the meal."

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The public had not had a proper chance to provide input, Feyen said. 

"I would have quite liked that we all sat around and had a good yak."

Feyen said it was a publicly-excluded meeting as finances were involved, but he would provide some detail about the meeting before the doors were closed.

The evaluation panel included the council's customer and community services manager Monique Davidson, councillor Jo Mason, commercial advisors to the public and iwi.

Feyen said he was excluded from the panel due to a conflict of interest. 

"I do not appreciate being excluded from things as a mayor."

Prior to receiving an agenda for the meeting on Thursday, Feyen said he knew little about the proposed buyers. 

Council chief executive David Clapperton would not comment until the matter was considered by the council next week. 

 

 

 

 - Stuff

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