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Everybody out at Gordon Wilson Flats – MP offers help for tenants

Wellington.Scoop
Media reports today say that all 81 tenants in the Gordon Wilson Flats at 320 The Terrace have been told they have to move out because the building is dangerous.

The DomPost quotes engineers’ reports as saying that the building is structurally sound, but large concrete slabs on the facade could fall during high winds or an earthquake.

The paper says Housing New Zealand has given the tenants seven days to move, and will help find them alternative accommodation.

The New Zealand Herald quotes Housing New Zealand’s Assets Development General Manager as saying that all the tenants would be rehoused.

“As tenant safety is a priority for the corporation we have made the decision to vacate the complex as a precaution. We are sorry for the inconvenience but tenant safety is our priority.”

The Gordon Wilson flats were built for the NZ Government in 1959. Government Architect Gordon Wilson and Ernst Plischke were the architects. The building was named after Wilson when he died suddenly during construction.

Media release from NZ Labour Party
Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson will be meeting Housing New Zealand officials tomorrow morning to seek an assurance that all tenants in the Gordon Wilson Housing New Zealand block will be accommodated in suitable, local accommodation after the issuing of seven day relocation notices.

“The safety of residents is paramount, and Housing New Zealand is right to move swiftly if they have identified a serious problem. But they must recognise that many of the residents are vulnerable elderly people.

“Seven days is a very short period of time for someone to move from their home. If they are to be re-located, it must be as close to the flats as possible. They have doctors, care-givers and other services nearby which provide them with essential services. This link needs to be maintained.

“I will also be asking Housing New Zealand to clarify how long the seriousness of this problem has been known, and whether this drastic action could have been avoided.

“Any residents who are affected and want support and advocacy are welcome to contact my office at 220 Willis St or call on 801-8079,” said Grant Robertson.

Statement from NZ First
New Zealand First is calling for Housing New Zealand to extend the seven-day time limit given to tenants to vacate Gordon Wilson Flats. Housing spokesperson Denis O’Rourke says the 87 state housing tenants and 200 residents have been placed in a hopeless situation.

“Housing New Zealand has no vacancies in central Wellington which will leave tenants without HNZ accommodation. Many will be uprooted from their daily lives to live miles away in outer suburbs in the Hutt Valley and Porirua.”

Mr O’Rourke says the block of flats on The Terrace, in Wellington, requires urgent structural work on its concrete facades but is otherwise structurally sound.

“It is arrogant, unreasonable and unnecessary for HNZ to give only a week’s notice when the building is sound. While the urgency of the façade work to be carried out is acknowledged, there is no reason why a longer period of notice could not be given.

“HNZ are falling far short of the ‘good landlord’ standards to which it should adhere. They need to give tenants a longer period of notice while helping them to find affordable accommodation in central Wellington,” says Mr O’Rourke.