Eight months dead in a council house

February 23rd, 2012 at 7:33 am by David Farrar

Clio Francis at Stuff reports:

A second pensioner lay dead in a Wellington council flat for at least eight months – and was found the same year as fellow tenant Michael Clarke died.

An investigation by The Dominion Post has revealed that Wiremu Whakaue died in his one-bedroom flat in Adelaide Rd in 2009, but his body was not discovered until March 2010.

I do not believe the City Council should be a provider. I do not think it is their role, and further more they seem to be very bad at it.

Assistance with housing needs is the responsibility of central Government, not local. City Councils should not be building hospitals or schools, they should not be providing welfare benefits and they should not be providing housing.

Their apartments should be sold to Housing NZ, where tenants would enjoy subsidised income related rents, or to community housing providers who will keep rents at the same level. Both would ensure, I am confident, that tenants are not lying dead for almost a year in their properties. The City Council should focus on the responsibilities it has that no one else has, rather than try and be a landlord.

Tags: ,

14 Responses to “Eight months dead in a council house”

  1. Mobile Michael (367 comments) says:

    I’d rather have the council run the flats down the road than have them run as state houses – Our council concentrate on housing the elderly and have complexes set up for it. If Housing NZ took over they will jam in anybody and ruin the whole complex.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Northland Wahine (553 comments) says:

    I agree with MM. Maybe the councils need to work with Age Concern? Or install monitors in these old pensioner flats, some alarm that if not pushed once a week, it lights up with a service to check up on them? Or is that considered too evasive?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Scott Chris (5,682 comments) says:

    David Farrar says:-”Eight months dead in a council flat”

    Eight months dead in a council flat!
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of Rum,
    No one to get up and feed the cat!
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist)
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Why do we even have state houses? What’s wrong with an accommodation supplement for the poor?

    If the Nats are serious about shrinking government and reducing debt, then one way to achieve this would be to sell off the 60,000 odd state homes at, say 250 grand each, raise 15 billion in the process, and dispose of Housing NZ to boot. WINZ/MSD are already dealing with the poor, so they are in the best position to assess financial needs.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Deane Jessep (53 comments) says:

    I agree with MM on this one – Many if not most of the councils run great, well maintained housing specifically for the elderly in their local communities. For example relatively small Napier City operates 373 homes event free and to the delight of the local community: http://www.napier.govt.nz/index.php?pid=257

    I think it is unfair to tar the entire sector with the in-actions of one clearly disfunctional department within one of more than 70+ local authorities.

    A far more appropriate response would be to ask why we did we not know this happend sooner, what reviews into internal process and practices have taken place since, and what guarantees do we now have that it wont happen again.

    I would also suggest that we do a quick “health check” of the sector and ask all local authorities (under the OIA may be appropriate) to report all instances of people dying and taking more than 1 month (is this fair?) to be discovered. Following this process we could then decide if a national review is warranted.

    As a side note, power companies user profiles month to month should easily be able to detect the pattern of a property where the owner has died; just look for a static usage from one point with a slow and minor trail off as things like light bulbs blow. This should be manditory in smart grids self governance as they role out.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Cobolt (82 comments) says:

    If councils can run apartment complexes, blocks of flats etc for at least a zero loss then no problem. If they make a proffit then all the better for ratepayers in general.
    I also agree with Scott, accommodation supplements should be the order of the day, easily checked and revised rather than having people squat in HNZ stock when they don’t require it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. peterwn (2,939 comments) says:

    The main point here is I do not think the Council or any other landlord has any duty of care to check that tenants are actually OK. Also any such checks would be unlawful under tenancy law and where the unfortunate situations occur, the tenants concerned are generally very reclusive and unlikely to consent to regular checks. However a portion of Council flat occupants are on the tipping edge of needing ‘institutionalisation’ and in years gone by would have been in mental hospitals or that place south of Levin. It is arguably not the Council’s role to provide welfare to these people which it effectively does at present eg providing accommodation where no private landlord or prospective flatmates would have them.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Deane Jessep (53 comments) says:

    All good points peterwn

    Landlords can always check through an inspection though, good tenancy management would have you doing that at least every 3 months anyway. (I do).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. David Garrett (5,151 comments) says:

    How terribly sad that a man could leave so little impression during his time on earth that no-one missed him for a year. I’m sorry if it sounds mawkish, but I can’t help thinking about that old Ralph McTell song “Streets of London”…particlarly the verse about the old man outside the seamans mission…..”looking at the world over the rim of his teacup/and each tea lasts an hour, and he wanders home alone.”

    There has to be a better way than this….

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Manolo (12,642 comments) says:

    If the Nats are serious about shrinking government and reducing debt, then one way to achieve this would be to sell off the 60,000 odd state homes at, say 250 grand each, raise 15 billion in the process, and dispose of Housing NZ to boot.

    Wow! Perfect common sense from Scott.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Why do we even have state houses? What’s wrong with an accommodation supplement for the poor?

    If the Nats are serious about shrinking government and reducing debt, then one way to achieve this would be to sell off the 60,000 odd state homes at, say 250 grand each, raise 15 billion in the process, and dispose of Housing NZ to boot. WINZ/MSD are already dealing with the poor, so they are in the best position to assess financial needs.

    Scott, teh Labour Party called. They have issued a directive that you attend re-education training immediately.

    Seriously, you’re talking to much common sense.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. KH (686 comments) says:

    Would not look to HCNZ to deal with this. Currently they are retrenching to call centers and most of the ‘ears and eyes’ tasks the tenancy managers now do will cease.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. KevinH (1,129 comments) says:

    We all have a duty to keep an eye on our elderly neighbours to ensure that situations like these don’t happen. One day it could be you in this situation. Personally I say gidday to my neighbours and have checked up on them when I haven’t seen them around. Sometimes that little chat is their only contact with another person all day, sad but true. So a little effort from all of us goes a long way.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. nzd.gbp (130 comments) says:

    I can’t agree with you David. Regional specific issues should be funded regionally. No taxation without representation. Why should residents of a city with a great council subsidise other region’s bad councils via their taxes to central govt?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    The problem here isn’t Council Housing.

    The problem here is some old people live and die alone. Sad, but that’s just life. Let’s not pretend this would never have happened with a private landlord.

    The last 3 places I’ve lived the (private) landlord’s inspections have been well over a year apart.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.