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Pocket money offer for HNZ evicted tenants deeply cynical

Press Release – State Housing Action

The pocket money offer to state house tenants wrongly evicted from their homes based on bogus meth testing is deeply cynical and insulting.
Pocket money offer for HNZ evicted tenants deeply cynical and insulting

The “pocket money” offer to state house tenants wrongly evicted from their homes based on bogus meth testing is deeply cynical and insulting.

These families had their lives turned upside down by Housing New Zealand’s incompetent, abusive behaviour.

They deserve the level of compensation they would receive if they could afford to take legal action against Housing New Zealand.

They should be treated in the same spirit as farmers who were recently allocated $500 million in compensation for the Mycoplasma Bovis outbreak and the wealthy investors in South Canterbury Finance who were compensated $1.7 billion by National in 2010.

The offer of up to $3000 is despicable.

SHAN has previously told Housing Minister Phil Twyford that HNZ cannot be trusted to treat residents fairly, reasonably and respectfully and that compensation must be negotiated through an independent agency.

The government has refused to ensure this happens and HNZ made their pitiful response today – underlining their lack of competence or compassion.

And their public announcement carefully timed to be buried under the Tax Working Group interim report.

Based on our legal advice Housing New Zealand has breached the Residential Tenancies Act, its own tenancy agreements and has failed in its common law duty of care to its tenants.

Depending on the circumstances evicted tenants may be able to claim:

(i) Apologies for the stress, hurt and humiliation caused by the misapplication of the testing guidelines resulting in eviction.

(ii) Substantial compensation for the illegal disposal of any of their possessions by Housing New Zealand. Additional compensation should be claimed for emotional loss relating to disposal of irreplaceable personal items of emotional significance eg wedding photos.

(iii) Repayment of any money paid to HNZ for meth testing or remediation carried out under the bogus meth standards.

(iv) Repayment of rent paid in the private sector above what the tenant was paying to HNZ from the time they were evicted until they are reinstated in HNZ Income Related Rent Tenancy.

(v) Damages for stress, hurt and humiliation.

(vi) Exemplary damages.

(vii) Being placed on the HNZ/WINZ priority list for a state house in a mutually agreed area.

(viii) That HNZ apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to quash any Tribunal decisions relating to the tenant which could negatively affect their future chances of obtaining a tenancy.

(ix) Any legal expenses incurred by the tenant in the pursuit of a claim.

(x) All compensation payments to be made ex gratia and NOT to be treated as income by HNZ or WINZ.

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