Bludgers be bludgers, this will make your blood boil

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.

If you think that is farcical, wait till you read the next part.

While on the stand, Bowden said she and McDonald were “distant tribal relatives” and though she had named him as her husband on medical forms she denied they were ever together.

She said the real catalyst behind the prosecution was the saga over her bid to buy the house and she claimed McDonald had been made a “scapegoat”.

Housing NZ investigator Kevin O’Carroll said the case had come to his attention when another department had been informed Bowden had made the offer to buy the house.

“It rang some alarm bells, how someone on a relatively low income could afford a home of $1 million,” he said.

He told the court how finance applications and other documents linked McDonald to the property.

Housing NZ claimed Bowden owed them $39,494 to cover the income-related rent subsidies she received during the time McDonald allegedly lived with her.

Some people just have to have a lend of us all don’t they.

This sort of skullduggery needs to be stopped.

I’m please Housing NZ is dealing with it.


– NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.