The woman who tried to buy a state house for a million dollars and then was busted for having a relationship when she claimed she wasn’t is in court trying to justify her bludging ways.
A woman, who was kicked out of a $1 million state house after offering to buy it, is fighting a $40,000 bill after allegations she was living there with an undisclosed partner.
Bella Bowden made headlines 14 months ago when Housing NZ gave her the boot despite her coming up with a near-seven-figure sum needed to buy the property in the upmarket Auckland suburb of Mission Bay.
After her offer, the corporation launched an investigation; sceptical of her story that whanau had come up with the funds with the help of a finance company.
Subsequently, they declined the offer and three charges of using a document for a pecuniary advantage were laid against Bowden, with Housing NZ alleging she lived in there with a partner — Greg McDonald — between 2010 and 2012.
Her income-related rent of $126 a week was cancelled and returned to market rent of $420, which she was unable to pay.
Soon after, Bowden was forced out of the two-bedroom Godden Cres house overlooking Rangitoto Island.
The defended hearing began in Auckland District Court today and Bowden, who represented herself, was adamant she lived alone for that period and was not in a de facto relationship with McDonald.
But the prosecution’s “key witness” Annette Baines — McDonald’s niece — said she had known them as a couple for at least 10 years, despite never having seen them living together.
“You’re partners. You know I know that, and sort of carrying on like this is a little bit embarrassing to be honest,” she said.