Deputy Mayor buys up big in Levin land deals
By Veronica Harrod
A land and property development company owned by Horowhenua District Council deputy mayor Wayne Bishop paid less than a quarter of the Capital Value for Levin’s former Horowhenua Hospital site in 2014.
According to the Quotable Values database the 4.92 hectare site listed as “Other-Health/Medical” which had a Capital Value of $3.8 million was sold to Wayne Bishop Investments Ltd on August 2014 for $968,000.
Cr Bishop also purchased the 48 hectare former Kimberley Hospital site on leasehold land in 2014 from MidCentral Health where he has been developing a staged “gated” 500 housing lifestyle development called Speldhurst Country Estate. In one year the RV of the former Kimberley Hospital site sky-rocketed from $3.8 million to $11.8 million.
Strategic land purchases
Wayne Bishop Investments Ltd has made three other strategic land purchases adjacent to the former Horowhenua Hospital site including, in one instance, one he paid over six times the Registered Valuation (RV) for.
According to the Quotable Value database on 13 August 2014 Wayne Bishop Investments paid $968,000 for a residential-vacant lot in Hinemoa Street which had a RV of $165,000.
Two years later on September 1, 2016 Wayne Bishop Investments paid $1.2 million, double the RV of $520,000, for 2.33 hectares of land next to the former hospital site which means he owns 10.5 hectares of prime real estate land on Liverpool Street.
His company also purchased another 3.6 hectare block of land behind the former hospital site where Hinemoa Street and Awatea Street joins with Waimarie Park.
Last year the council voted in a publicly excluded council meeting to sell the council-owned pensioner housing portfolio for a firesale price of $5.2 million to land and property developer Willis Bond which includes pensioner housing units at Waimarie Park.
Audit reveals Council losses on pensioner units
An Audit NZ report for the Year ending 30 June 2017 presented to the public for the first time at the February 18 Finance, Audit and Risk committee revealed the council lost $1.86 million on the sale of the pensioner housing and 1.1 hectare of land to Willis Bond.
According to a leaked copy of the terms of sale Willis Bond are only required to retain the pensioner housing portfolio as community housing until 2029 but the public don’t know whether Cr Bishop has a conflict of interest or whether he declared a conflict of interest because voting was done behind closed doors.
Three development companies for Deputy Mayor
Cr Bishop has three land and development companies including Wayne Bishop Investments Ltd, Wayne Bishop Builder and Wayne Bishop that collectively own extensive land and property interests across New Zealand including Horowhenua.
After he was elected, Cr Bishop openly stated in a media interview he would represent the “development community”, a euphemism for land and property developers, and revealed he had four Horowhenua land and property developments on the go.
He is now in an influential council position as deputy mayor and deputy chair of the council’s in-house economic development board, which has multi-million dollar vested interests in land and property development and construction industries.
Since he was elected to council in 2011, after securing 519 of 2189 votes, Council has become increasingly involved in pushing a land and development agenda – including rolling out an extensive number of land and development projects – to such an extent the district is now referred to as the construction hub of the lower North Island.