Mal­ing makes dis­pute end­ing deal

The Leader (Tasman) - - FRONT PAGE - By BILL MOORE and SARAH DUNN

Tas­man mayoral can­di­date Kit Mal­ing says his deal to re­solve Waimea Vil­lage’s long-run­ning dis­pute is in­te­gral to his elec­toral cam­paign.

He just wants the rent row be­tween the vil­lage’s el­derly res­i­dents and own­ers, Michael and Carolyn Wright, to stop.

Kit has signed a deal with Michael and Carolyn to pur­chase the prop­erty.

Af­ter mak­ing a non-re­fund­able $7000 de­posit out of his own pocket, Kit plans to sell shares to the res­i­dents be­fore hand­ing owner- ship and con­trol over to them.

The deal is con­di­tional on the res­i­dents drop­ping the court case they raised against the Wrights in May.

Kit said he had been try­ing to help the res­i­dents re­solve a dis­pute be­tween them and the Wrights for more than two years, and had ‘‘put his money where his mouth is’’.

He is cur­rently a sit­ting Tas­man Dis­trict coun­cil­lor.

He said the deal was not com­pletely ir­rel­e­vant to his mayoral cam­paign, but his pro­file would have al­ready been high enough with­out it.

Vot­ing for the lo­cal body elec­tion closes at noon on 12 Oc­to­ber.

‘‘I an­nounced my in­ten­tion to run for mayor in Fe­bru­ary.

‘‘I’ve got signs up, I’ve been ev­ery­where in the com­mu­nity for a long time.’’

‘‘At the end of the day I mightn’t win this elec­tion, but I’ll still have helped th­ese peo­ple and I feel pretty good about that.’’

He said he in­cluded the con­di­tion about the court case be­cause he ‘‘just wanted it to stop’’.

Michael and Carolyn is­sued a joint state­ment with Kit say­ing they were pleased with the of­fer.

‘‘This is a pos­i­tive move, and we’re hop­ing that the ac­ri­mony can now be put be­hind us and that we can all move on. It has been a long and dif­fi­cult process for ev­ery­one in­volved.’’

Nei­ther Kit nor Michael and Carolyn would re­veal the of­fer price ear­lier this week, cit­ing con­fi­den­tial­ity.

The deal will be­come un­con­di­tional 42 days from last Fri­day, with set­tle­ment 15 days af­ter that. Michael said he would even­tu­ally pur­sue other busi­ness in­ter­ests, but would take a rest first.

Kit said the plan would pro­ceed if 100 of the home­own­ers each bought a share worth $8200. The vil­lage has around 250 res­i­dents who oc­cupy 171 houses.

Kit planned to ‘‘shoul­der-tap’’ five di­rec­tors to run the com­pany who would be paid a nom­i­nal $500 a year. A man­ager would be hired for 20 hours a week.

‘‘My am­bi­tion in this whole thing is to the make the prob­lem go away. I don’t want to be a di­rec­tor, be­cause I want to be the mayor.’’

Res­i­dents’ com­mit­tee chair­man Jerry Row­land re­fused to com­ment on the drop­ping of the court case, but said the deal it­self was a ‘‘fan­tas­tic idea’’.

He said it would be up to the res­i­dents to come up with the share money on their own, say­ing some might turn to fam­ily or fi­nanc­ing com­pa­nies for help while oth­ers may not be in­ter­ested.

There was no chance the com­mit­tee’s ‘‘war chest’’ fund started to cover le­gal costs in the court case would be used to fund res­i­dents’ share pur­chases, he said.

Res­i­dents own their houses and pay rates to the Tas­man Dis­trict Coun­cil, but lease the land from Waimea Vil­lage 2005 Ltd.

A monthly rental fee cov­ers man­age­ment, ad­min­is­tra­tion, main­te­nance, re­pairs, taxes, the man­ager’s salary, ac­com­mo­da­tion, a ve­hi­cle, com­mit­tee ex­penses, col­lec­tion of green waste and rub­bish, free bark, a cour­tesy van, and se­cu­rity.

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