Bureaucracy blamed for loss
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.