1491976579024 - How many could live on that? A hectare of Housing NZ land stands empty for 8 years

How many could live on that? A hectare of Housing NZ land stands empty for 8 years

Jane would pitch a tent on the grass of Castor Cres if she could.

The Porirua woman, who did not want her last name used, said she felt furious every time she looked at the empty land just over her fence in Cannons Creek.

“How many people could live on that? Even if they made it a camping ground, it would be better than it is now.”

What it is now is a hectare of flat land in Porirua’s east, empty since 2009 when Housing New Zealand bowled 27 ageing and earthquake-prone state houses.

READ MORE: * Church demands action on vacant Housing NZ land * Public meeting to discuss Castor Loop * Public demands Castor Loop housing  * Housing NZ seeks private interest in land

On Saturday night, the land became a camping ground as locals pitched tents in protest at what they said was a glaring hole in their neighbourhood.

Organiser Matt Crawshaw said the demolition of the homes, and those is a nearby street, “hollowed out the community”.

“It’s been eight years of nothing since those houses came down, and the community wants something to happen.”

He said the camp-out was just the beginning of a move to rally Cannons Creek residents to push for action.

Housing NZ spokesman Patrick Dougherty, asked about plans for the area, said: “Housing New Zealand is investigating significant investment of new social housing in this community.

“Details of these plans are yet to be finalised and we will be sharing these plans with the wider community and other stakeholders for their feedback once they are further developed later this year.

“These plans are being formed to respond to recent changes in demand for social housing in the community.”

The MP for Mana, Labour’s Kris Faafoi, said the land should be housing New Zealanders, and he had campaigned for five years to get homes built.

“Porirua has a huge need for social housing and it’s incredible nothing has been done here.”

On Tuesday, Labour leader Andrew Little visited the site and pledged his party would build affordable or state homes if it were elected in September.

In 2012, private and social housing providers were given the opportunity to tender for the land – which had resource consent for 15 homes – but no tenders were received.


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