Resthome resident faces possible eviction
An elderly UK woman who has run up a hefty bill at a Taumarunui resthome is facing an uncertain future while caught in immigration limbo.
Eighty-seven-year-old Eileen Moore, who is paralysed down her right side, wheelchair bound and suffering from dysphasia, has been without residency for 13 years and is stuck in what her son describes as a "catch-22" situation now she needs care.
Mrs Moore, who suffered a stroke in 1966, has technically been an overstayer for a dozen years since arriving to visit her son, former Ruapehu farmer Roger Moore, in 2000 and staying ever since due to ill health.
She was living with her son and his wife on their farm at Tokirima, 30 kilometres west of Taumarunui.
But when the business failed and the farm was sold last year Mrs Moore had to move into Avonlea resthome where she has racked up a $24,000 bill the community trust-run facility says it can't afford.
Mrs Moore will be eligible for the New Zealand resthome subsidy, paid by the Waikato District Health Board if she is granted permanent New Zealand residency, but Mr Moore says he cannot afford the application or to act as any sort of financial guarantor for her.
But after nine months, and no progress, trust chairman Mike Gibbs advised Mrs Moore that Avonlea couldn't carry the debt any longer.
In a letter dated December 19 he advised her that unless the arrears were paid within three weeks she would have to leave the home.
"We allowed you to remain resident at Avonlea on humanitarian grounds in the hope that you would settle the arrears in full, but that had not happened and the Trust can no longer sustain the financial cost that is being incurred," he wrote.
Mrs Moore told the Ruapehu Press the letter had "come as quite a shock" and she felt quite helpless about her situation.
"I don't quite know what to do but I do definitely feel very helpless. I feel it is very unfair because I thought I was getting permanent residency which would make it possible for me to stay where I am."
Mr Gibb said the $24,000 bill represented a large proportion of the trust's budgeted surplus for the year which had been earmarked for upgrading some of the accommodation wings.
He said that as a non-profit Avonlea had a relatively small budget and the current situation threatened its financial viability.
Mrs Moore was due to transfer to Taumarunui Hospital last Friday but the DHB stepped in and gave Avonlea management an undertaking to underwrite her accommodation bill from Friday while they awaited completion of her permanent residency application, which, if accepted, would make her eligible for subsidised care.
Waikato DHB communications manager Mary Anne Gill said both Avonlea management and the DHB had enormous sympathy for Mrs Moore's predicament and the health board was not prepared to see her moved to Taumarunui Hospital due to her circumstances.
Their hands had been tied because paperwork received by NZ Immigration remained incomplete, she said.
Roger Moore, describe his mother's situation as a "catch-22" and a nightmare.
Mr Moore, who has been in New Zealand since 1999, said he was unable to financially help his mother after his business failed and he faced bankruptcy while also dealing with a brain tumour.
Mr Moore said a lack of filling out some paperwork meant his mother missed the deadline for submission of all parental applications in May 2012. He was told another attempt could take up to 22 months for a case officer to be assigned.
Mr Moore said he was not in a financial position to back her because his only source of income was his superannuation. He said the first application had cost him more than $800 and he could not afford it again.
"I cannot be her sponsor and I do not want to sign a document which would effectively have me commit perjury."
Immigration New Zealand said Mrs Moore's visitor visa remained valid until September 11 but she would have to submit a further application to be considered for Family Parent Residency.