Poor hous­ing awaits stu­dents

Own­ers do noth­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By ES­THER LAUAKI

Liv­ing con­di­tions in the stu­dent hos­tels on the old Kenepuru Hos­pi­tal grounds are ‘‘disgusting’’, says one oc­cu­pant, de­spite its own­ers be­ing given up to $1 mil­lion to re­fur­bish the prop­erty last year.

Richard Rei says he is concerned that the new in­flux of stu­dents look­ing for ac­com­mo­da­tion when poly­tech­nics start back this month may be lured into poor hous­ing.

In the last six months he says about 100 peo­ple have left the block of flats, run by his neph­ews Howard Metekingi and Ariel Metekingi, who own Kenepuru In­ter­na­tional Trad­ing, be­cause of the low stan­dard of liv­ing.

‘‘They don’t do any­thing for the res­i­dents. I live in these res­i­dences and if I want any­thing done, I do it my­self. I’ve had to do up the whole place my­self. The flats are very, very shoddy. You see peo­ple walk­ing around with a beer in their hand, cars ev­ery­where, smashed doors, smashed win­dows, bro­ken light fix­tures . . . they [ ten­ants] leave, and the place is all ripped up, and the Metekingis do noth­ing about it.’’

He says in April last year the Metekingis and two other rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the hos­tel met with for­mer Whi­tireia In­de­pen­dent Stu­dents As­so­ci­a­tion (Wisa) pres­i­dent Loretta Ry­der, to pro­mote the prop­er­ties on Up­per and Lower Main Dr as a suit­able ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tion for stu­dents.

Ms Ry­der is cur­rently un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter $700,000 worth of Wisa funds were found to be missing in May last year.

Mr Rei claims ‘‘ close to $ 1 mil­lion’’ had been given to Howard Metekingi from Wisa to up­grade the flats. The Metekingis and Ms Ry­der could not be reached for com­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to an au­dit of Wisa there was a pay­ment of $18,200 to Kenepuru In­ter­na­tional but there was no valid tax in­voice and no ac­count of what the money was for. A de­posit of $8000 was made in ad­vance, for works to be car­ried out from 2010 till 2011.

Ms Ry­der and her fam­ily were liv­ing at the hos­tels with stu­dent vice-pres­i­dent Tai Te Karu while they were both on the ex­ec­u­tive.

Cur­rent Wisa pres­i­dent Mahia Fuimaono, who was part of the pre­vi­ous ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, says she was un­aware of any deal­ings with the Metekingis but had heard ‘‘some sto­ries that who­ever the money was given to took off with it’’.

She says peo­ple reg­u­larly of­fer rooms for rent and the stu­dent as­so­ci­a­tion tries to match stu­dents with ap­pro­pri­ate ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Mr Rei says roughly 200 res­i­dents live in the flats which were orig­i­nally in­tended as stu­dent hos­tels. ‘‘The peo­ple that are liv­ing here are peo­ple with nowhere else to go. Hous­ing New Zealand has turned them away be­cause for most of them booze is their first pri­or­ity. But for what they’re pay­ing the con­di­tions are disgusting.’’

One-bed­room units with shared fa­cil­i­ties at the hos­pi­tal grounds rent for be­tween $140 and $320 per week, he says.

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