Our Story: ‘Nuns step in front door of public housing — as Council steps out back’
Or…’How to give away public money’
By Judith Bryers Holloway (Writer /Scriptwriter/editor for TV/Editor/Publishing Manager of educational books/Tutor in Writing for Children)
There’s been a PR exercise at the Horowhenua District Council as we got to hear from the people who have planned to buy the portfolio of 115 houses and the 1.7 hectare of land owned by us! (the ratepayers)
We heard from one of the Sisters of the ‘Compassion Housing’ about how nice it will be for the present tenants and all future tenants to be tended by a proposed visiting nurse and other ‘helpers’ of their organisation.
But someone was impolite enough to point out that these services are already being provided in the community by Access, Enliven, Supportlinks, and others, all paid for by funding through Mid-Central Health.
Good deal for the Church
We heard from a young Mr McGuiness (of Willis & Bond, the financial overseers of the project, of which he is a Director) about how they have not yet decided how long their ownership, in its present configuration, of this precious commodity will be. At least, he thought, 13 years.
Yes, what a good investment for his business and for the Catholic charity – to buy for $5m (!!!) 115 fully-maintained houses and flats, plus a block of land whose combined worth is around $20m.
Then to either decide at will to sell it in 13 years or gain further advantage by building more houses on the land – 40, Mr McGuinness has calculated. Then they will have those to either sell off or let as well – not necessarily to people in need.
What a contract!
It doesn’t take a maths wizard to do the sums on all of this. What’s worth $20m today will be worth at least $40m in 13 years. Not to mention the rents coming in over those 13 years. Not to mention the outlandishly low price they’re hoping to get them for – $5m!
I’m not blaming capitalists for taking advantage of such bargains. That’s the way they work.
I’m not blaming the religious order which has been brought in as a front. The ordinary Sisters are no doubt unaware of how they are being used.
‘This terrible Council’
I am most assuredly blaming this terrible Council for trying to push this outlandish plan through in such haste.
We ratepayers and good ordinary Kiwi ‘fair-goers’ all have the right to be suspicious, angry and indignant. A goodly number of us are trying to do all in our power to stop this rip-off.
I know of at least 3000 citizens who agree with us. Yet….Cr Judd who ‘chaired’ the meeting, tried to shut up our awkward queries to the main players – calling us ‘not at all typical of the good people of Levin’.