New homes miss help due to old maps
Hundreds of Wakatipu families could be missing out on valuable Government accommodation funding assistance due to outdated zoning maps.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.
Lake Hayes Community Association chairman Justin Ralston with the sprawl of Lake Hayes Estate behind.