Brit householders in New Zealand falling foul of extortionate lease payments

Published:  13 Dec at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
British expats living in Waitara NZ properties built on leased land are facing financial hardship and the possible loss of their homes due to a massive land lease price hike.

Waitara is home to a number of British expats who’ve purchased homes on leased land as part of their plan to stay long-term in New Zealand. Leases in the area run for 21 years with an average charge of around $400 a year, but recent massive increases of over 1000 per cent have hit hard on householders and caused consternation in the local expat community. The increases are scheduled to fall due on January 21 next year, and are the legacy of a land-grab from the Maori nation during the late 1880s’ Taranaki wars.

Around 780 properties are threatened as they are subject to the Waitara Lands Bill at present making its way through New Zealand’s parliament with the aim of allowing freeholding of the homes as well as returning a portion of the land to its former Maori owners. One British expat working as a truck driver was horrified to receive a notification from the local council that his annual lease fee was about to be increased from $397 a year to $4980. He and his wife have two children of their own with another baby due next February, and are also fostering two more children.

British retiree Jean and her husband have lived in their home for some 17 years, with her lease soaring to $4725 three years ago. She’s now $7,000 in debt as a result and is terrified of losing her home as the council has warned it has the right to cancel her lease unless the arrears are paid either in full or by a mutually agreed amount each month. In spite of the council’s threat, Jean is continuing to fight for her property as they’ve worked for it over 17 years. At present the couple are struggling to pay at a reduced rate, but are now in serious financial trouble.

Josephine Moore and her partner refused to pay for their new lease when the amount jumped form $400 to over $5,000 a year. The council, she says, aren’t the owners of the land as it was illegally confiscated from Te Atiawa, and cannot just hike lease charges in this manner as they are only administrators. Local councillors refused to be interviewed, but chief financial officer Alan Bird told reporters individual land values on which the increases were based had soared from $5,000 in 1995 to $110,000 last year.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive