Social housing?

PHIL REID/The Dominion Post

Now the reason I’ve been motivated to write something new for WCC Watch after months of inactivity is the disgraceful news that an 88 year old pensioner has been found dead in his Newtown Park Flat. After being dead for many many months, probably since late last year. They only found him after weeks of knocking on his door. The real kicker are lines like these from the tennents…

The only time the council check up on you around here is if you’re late on the rent.

Now I was thinking that it was disgraceful that the council could provide social housing, particularly to the elderly and unwell, without any sort of duty of care. It turns out that they sure were meant to be checking up on them…

In 1999, Wellington police called for the council to check regularly on tenants after several cases in which the bodies of elderly people were not discovered for some time.

In one, police found the decomposed body of a woman who had lain dead in a Kilbirnie flat for eight weeks and in another a 75-year-old man lay undiscovered for a fortnight in the Newtown Park Flats.

Which seems at odds with what the current tennants are saying is actually happening on the ground…

Olivene Taylor has lived in the block for 33 years. “They used to check on older people and there used to be security,” she said.

“The only time the council comes now is when someone’s dead. They are supposed to check on people but they don’t.”

She gestured around the block: “One person was dead for seven days, another person over there for two weeks. It’s pitiful really.”

The word disgraceful does not go far enough to describe this tragedy.

UPDATE: Phil Quin has written an extensive blog on the subject blaming Cr Stephanie Cook


5 responses to “Social housing?

  1. I don’t see a problem with it.

    The quote from the article “He was known to like his privacy” says it all.

    Why should people have to put up with interfering council busybodies just because they’re old?

    • Thomas Beagle — are you a member of the Council’s Communications Team or Councillor Cook’s media person or something? Your callousness is astonishing. As is your assumption that because one person valued his privacy, the Council should not knock on anyone’s doors and leave corpses rotting in flats for months.
      Councillor Cook should take the moral high ground here and resign.

      • I, for one, am outraged that the council shows so little regard for ratepayer property that they check it’s condition so infrequently that a rotten corpse can go unnoticed for a year. Surely a competent property manager checks on their tenants and their rentals more frequently than this.

        As for Councillor Cook, is anyone surprised that her first appearance in the media since re-election is related to the Council doing nothing. That’s her signature isn’t it?

  2. Also from the article…
    “After knocking at Mr Clarke’s door several times over a number of weeks and leaving calling cards that were not collected, council staff alerted police.”
    You’d think that if they’re not answering their door, or collecting calling cards, there might be an issue…
    This is a massive systemic failure, one that the council has been alerted to in the past, and obviously done nothing to fix.

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