New homes miss help due to old maps

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - SUE FEA

Hun­dreds of Wakatipu fam­i­lies could be miss­ing out on valu­able Gov­ern­ment ac­com­mo­da­tion fund­ing as­sis­tance due to outdated zon­ing maps.

Hap­pi­ness House co-or­di­na­tor Niki Ma­son said staff had been fight­ing to have ‘‘new’’ sub­di­vi­sions, in­clud­ing the likes of Lakes Hayes Es­tate and Sho­tover Coun­try, cov­ered in the maps.

Cur­rently, fam­i­lies liv­ing in more es­tab­lished ar­eas like Fern­hill, Sun­shine Bay, parts of Queen­stown, Frank­ton and Ar­row­town, who met the other nec­es­sary cri­te­ria, were el­i­gi­ble for the sup­ple­ments, Ma­son said.

How­ever, those in new sub­di­vi­sions like Lake Hayes Es­tate and Sho­tover Coun­try ap­peared to be re­ceiv­ing a greatly re­duced sup­ple­ment be­cause of their ad­dress.

It was caus­ing con­fu­sion, Ma­son said.

‘‘Renters who have to move are un­aware of the sit­u­a­tion un­til ten­ancy agree­ments have been signed...Queen­stown’s hous­ing sit­u­a­tion is reach­ing cri­sis point and there are limited op­tions avail­able in the ap­proved zones.’’

The maps were about ten years old. In­stead, there should be one zone for the whole of the Wakatipu Basin, she said.

Hap­pi­ness House man­ager Karen Stu­art said a fam­ily liv­ing in Fern­hill, pay­ing about $500 a week in rent could re­ceive a $90-plus ac­com­mo­da­tion sup­ple­ment.

In Sho­tover Coun­try they could be pay­ing the same rent and earn­ing the same wage, but the ac­com­mo­da­tion sup­ple­ment could be cut down to un­der $10 a week.

For­mer Lake Hayes Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Ben Espie said lo­cal Work and Income staff had been sup­port­ive of the bid when it was first made in 2013.

‘‘For some peo­ple this sup­ple­ment is the dif­fer­ence be­tween stay­ing in the dis­trict or not...It’s such a fine line with the ris­ing cost of hous­ing,’’ he said.

As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Justin Ral­ston said com­mit­tee mem­bers had spent up to two years at­tempt­ing to get the zones changed but made no progress.

Clutha South­land MP Todd Bar­clay said the Gov­ern­ment was work­ing with the So­cial Devel­op­ment Min­istry to un­der­take a re­view of the min­istry’s zon­ing maps and as­so­ci­ated ac­com­mo­da­tion sup­ple­ments.

SUE FEA

Lake Hayes Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Justin Ral­ston with the sprawl of Lake Hayes Es­tate be­hind.

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