Bu­reau­cracy blamed for loss

Stratford Press - - News - By ALICE COWDREY

A Strat­ford man whose house sold in a mort­gagee sale last week blames a gov­ern­ment depart­ment for his fi­nan­cial trou­bles.

Ian McAlpine, 68, says he has been bat­tling with the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion for more than five years over a range of is­sues and the cost of this bat­tle, along with a loss of in­come, meant he couldn’t make his mort­gage pay­ments.

Ian didn’t at­tend the auc­tion where his Celia St house sold for

$161,000 at the TET Mul­tisports Cen­tre last Tues­day, say­ing he didn’t want to be present when it sold. He did, how­ever, tell the Strat­ford Press he was glad it sold at mar­ket value.

He says he paid $45,000 for the Celia St house which he de­scribes as the per­fect place to live be­cause it was cen­tral and had a great view of the moun­tain.

Hav­ing bought the house in

2001, Ian says he is emo­tional to be forced to leave the home he worked hard es­tab­lish­ing the gar­dens in. He says he has done work to the three bed­room 1900s house over the years, putting up na­tive tim­ber pan­elling and mak­ing it into a home he en­joys spend­ing time in.

“I should be en­joy­ing it in my re­tire­ment.”

Ian worked as a moun­tain guide, own­ing his own busi­ness, Moun­tain Taranaki Guided Walks, and says he did well for many years, earn­ing an av­er­age of $45,000 a year. He says he has been guid­ing peo­ple on and up Mount Taranaki since 1993 and has climbed the moun­tain him­self more than 1850 times.

In 2012, says Ian, the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion (DoC) in­tro­duced new rules for guides, re­quir­ing them to pro­vide safety plans. Ian says the time it took to find an au­di­tor to do the plan meant he lost out on work, and with the lack of in­come was un­able to pay DoC some $1100 in per­mit fees which were ow­ing. Ian says his guid­ing con­ces­sion for the moun­tain was can­celled by the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion for non-pay­ment, leav­ing him un­able to earn an in­come. This hap­pened, he says, de­spite him even­tu­ally pay­ing the money owed.

Ian says he has bat­tled the depart­ment over the is­sue for years, say­ing health and stress is­sues meant he strug­gled fi­nan­cially.

His pen­sion was not enough to cover his weekly re­pay­ments.

“There wasn’t enough to pay the mort­gage and it just snow­balled re­ally.”

Ian has started pack­ing up his many books and be­long­ings to be out by the end of the month and says he will be look­ing to Hous­ing New Zealand to find a new place to live.

“It’s pretty amaz­ing this all started be­cause of stan­dover tac­tics by gov­ern­ment bu­reau­crats over $1100.

“I would just like to say be­cause of that de­ci­sion back in Novem­ber 2014 it may have cost me my home but it has cost the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion many hours and money which should have been spent on con­ser­va­tion.”

The Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion was ap­proached for com­ment on this ar­ti­cle but de­clined to do so.

Ian McAlpine is sur­rounded by pack­ing boxes as he pre­pares to move out of his home fol­low­ing a mort­gagee sale.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.