Peace at last

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Janie Smith

MT AL­BERT’S most in­fa­mous ad­dress is get­ting a re­vamp and hope­fully a new rep­u­ta­tion.

Hous­ing New Zealand took pos­ses­sion of 39 Range View Rd on Mon­day morn­ing af­ter ten­ant Sharon Salt and her fam­ily vol­un­tar­ily ended their ten­ancy.

The move comes af­ter years of com­plaints from neigh­bours and res­i­dents of vi­o­lence and in­tim­i­da­tion.

Mrs Salt ended the ten­ancy a day be­fore a four-day hear­ing was due to start at the Ten­ancy Tri­bunal – the cor­po­ra­tion’s sec­ond at­tempt to evict the fam­ily.

Hous­ing New Zealand se­nior com­mu­ni­ca­tions ad­viser Kathryn O’Sul­li­van says the house has the nor­mal wear and tear ex­pected af­ter a 14year ten­ancy.

“We’ve taken pos­ses­sion and handed it over to con­trac­tors. They are in there al­ready so we can put an­other fam­ily in there as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

The or­gan­i­sa­tion hopes to have a new fam­ily in the home within three weeks.

She says ten­ants are cho­sen based on who has the great­est need for a house.

“We will be choos­ing a fam­ily who are ap­pre­cia­tive of hav­ing a state house,” she says.

Res­i­dents say they are re­lieved to have their quiet street back. One, who didn’t want to be named, says the Salt fam­ily left grad­u­ally over the week­end. “We’re ec­static,” she says. She and her hus­band have lived near the Salts dur­ing their 14-year ten­ancy and say there was trou­ble the en­tire time.

They thought about mov­ing, but her ill-health made it im­pos­si­ble.

“Plus we’d have to sell the house and I don’t think any­one would have bought it.”

The cou­ple were wor­ried the Salts wouldn’t leave or would be­come con­fronta­tional on Mon­day.

“It’s an ab­so­lute re­lief. We’re still wor­ried be­cause of drive-bys. They were very an­gry. I feel sorry for the new neigh­bours.”

She says the four weeks lead­ing up to the ten­ancy dead­line was “hor­ri­ble and stress­ful”.

The Salt chil­dren and their friends gath­ered at the ad­dress, wear­ing ban­dan­nas and act­ing ag­gres­sively, she says.

“They were looking for a fight but we kept our heads down. We stayed in the house a lot and didn’t go out­side very of­ten. If we had to go out, we didn’t go past their place.”

She says con­sta­bles Nigel Turn­bull and Lan­don Pearce, who dealt with the case, have been sup­port­ive.

“We love them. They’ve been won­der­ful. Nigel is my hero.”

The cou­ple say they are con­cerned about what the new ten­ants will be like but say they are giv­ing Hous­ing New Zealand the ben­e­fit of the doubt.

An­other res­i­dent says the street is peace­ful and the fam­ily left qui­etly.

She says peo­ple are re­lieved and will be mak­ing sure the street stays quiet by keep­ing an eye out for any other trou­ble.

Mr Turn­bull says the Salts’ de­ci­sion to move out was long over­due.

“The var­i­ous stake-hold­ers have worked hard to en­sure a pos­i­tive out­come for the res­i­dents on Range View Rd and the lo­cal com­mu­nity, who were ter­rorised over a pe­riod of sev­eral years by var­i­ous mem­bers of the Salt fam­ily and the as­so­ci­ated street gang.”

It is un­known where the Salt fam­ily has moved to and they could not be con­tacted for com­ment.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Tak­ing over: Hous­ing New Zealand spokes­woman Kathryn O’Sul­li­van at 39 Range View Rd, which has been va­cated by the Salt fam­ily.

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