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AUCKLAND CITY HARBOUR NEWS, AUGUST 23, 2013
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By EMMA WHITTAKER
FRAUD investigations have led to
28 Housing New Zealand tenancies
ending in Central Auckland over
the past year.
The recently released figures
cover the 12 months to June.
In one case the renter sublet
their state house after moving to
The former tenant started living
in the property in 2008 when they
were a beneficiary.
In October 2011 they told HNZ
they were leaving, but then with-
drew their notice.
In 2012 a tenancy manager dis-
covered during a property inspec-
tion that the tenant had in fact left
in 2011 and individually sublet
each of the bedrooms in the house.
A relative was managing the ten-
nants and collecting the rent.
A warrant has been issued to
arrest the tenant on fraud charges
if they return to New Zealand.
HNZ is also trying to recover
$30,000 from another Central
Auckland person who claimed to be
single and on a sickness benefit
The person was actually running
a successful home business and liv-
ing with a partner who worked in a
skilled trade, despite also claiming
to be a sickness beneficiary.
These cases are the extreme,
HNZ investigations manager Bern-
ard Hollewand says.
The numbers are still very low.
We only investigate about 1 per
cent of our tenancies nationally.
HNZ has 5100 properties in the
Central Auckland area.
Ninety per cent of tenants rents
are subsidised based on their
income while a small proportion
pay the market rate.
They are people whose circum-
stances have changed to the point
where they don t need income-based
rent any more. We have no interest
in them, Mr Hollewand says.
He says cases of fraud come to his
team s attention by people ringing
the contact centre with information,
tenancy managers noticing inconsi-
stencies or through information
passed from other departments.
For instance, the probation ser-
vice might contact HNZ to get per-
mission for somebody to serve an
electronically monitored sentence
at an HNZ address and it will be for
a person that has never been
declared as living at the address.
Once it s found a tenant has been
dishonest they can be prosecuted,
are required to pay back the
amount or rental subsidies they
have wrongly received and are not
entitled to a state house for a year.
The big win from our point of
view is getting houses back for peo-
ple who really need them. There are
people on the waiting list, Housing
Minister Nick Smith says.
Policy changes in 2008 saw HNZ
firm up its approach towards fraud
and criminal activity in its proper-
ties. While the vast majority of
HNZ s 62,000 tenancies on income
related rent are in legitimate need
of housing, a small minority are ror-
ting the system. I make no apolo-
gies for the hard line taken to make
sure state housing is freed up for
those who actually need it. .
Passionate about Cancer Society
Silver lining: Kevala
the death of her
father has inspired
her to become a life-
long volunteer for
By DANIELLE STREET
After losing her father to cancer,
Kevala Shishmanian found hope
in volunteering for Daffodil Day.
Ms Shishmanian was set to
embark on her OE when her
father Alfred was diagnosed with
cancer of the kidneys in April
Despite her protests he encour-
aged her to travel, but she
returned home a few months later
because the aggressive cancer had
He died that December.
It was an extremely hard thing
to go through, which is part of the
reason I do Cancer Society volun-
teering, because they help the
families and the people going
through it in so many ways, the
It s not only research. They
help with housing and counselling
and just making cups of tea. And
that s one of the most important
things, because if you don t have
the support I don t know how you
would get through something like
Daffodil Day is held on August
30 and is the Cancer Society s
flagship fundraising event.
Chief executive John Loof says
the long-established event is
important because the society
doesn t get any direct government
Daffodil Day enables us to con-
tinue to do our much-needed work
in the community to reduce the
impact of cancer today and in the
future, he says.
Money raised goes towards vital
scientific research into the causes
and treatments of all types of can-
cer. It also provides for a wide-
range of support services and edu-
This year will be the third time
the Mt Albert resident has worked
as a volunteer co-ordinator for the
annual fundraising event.
She insists it is something she
will continue to do for the rest of
I ve met people that have been
doing it for the last 20 years and
it s amazing.
They ve still got so much pas-
sion for it and I m hoping I m
going to be one of those people in
Doing this makes me feel like
I m giving back in a way. I know
my Dad would be proud.
Fifty-five New Zealanders are
diagnosed with cancer every day.
It is the country s leading cause of
death, with more than 8000 peo-
ple dying of cancer every year.
Ms Shishmanian says giving
just a little bit of money makes a
1001 tenants nationally have
been evicted as a result of
Housing New Zealand fraud
investigations since 2008
Four houses were used as
methamphetamine labs in the
2012 to 2013 year compared
to seven in the previous year
22 per cent of investigations
result in no further action and
occur because of an honest
misunderstanding, mistake or
insufficient information being
The most common reasons
behind fraud cases are
tennants not disclosing that
they have a partner, not
disclosing their income or
subletting their homes
The Cancer Society
volunteers to help
collect on Daffodil
Day, August 30.
for the inner-city
from the society
says it is easy and
fun, and only a few
hours of your time is
phone 308 0169.
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