Sorry Wendy, but it isn’t your house to keep


Social housing tenant Wendy Ross feels “like a criminal”.

“I haven’t done anything wrong … I’ve worked, I’ve paid my taxes, I’ve raised my family, so why are they trying to make me leave my home?”

Last year we brought you the story of Ms Ross who, having lived in her three-bedroom Whanganui state house for more than 30 years and raised her family there, had been told she would have to move out.

She has now been given a date for her marching orders – July 18 – though that has only strengthened her resolve to remain in the house she considers her home. Ms Ross, who works for the minimum wage as a carer and lives alone, has been told by the Ministry of Social Development that she is no longer eligible for a state house.

The ministry told the Chronicle that social housing reforms introduced in 2014 were intended to ensure that “people living in social housing still need it”.

After 30 years, the ministry has decided that she no longer needs it. But Ms Ross believes she is being evicted because Housing New Zealand intends to sell the house, as it has others in Whanganui.

She said some of her neighbours had been told to leave, and other state houses in the Puriri St area where she lives are sitting empty.

“This isn’t about rehoming people who need help. I’m not preventing anyone else from living here. This is about greed,” she said.

No, this is about a landlord, that’s us, rationalising our property portfolio.  By selling excess housing in Whanganui, the government can purchase or build housing where they are needed.  

Ms Ross has been offered alternative accommodation – in a halfway house and in a complex of pensioner flats. She said neither option was suitable.”The pensioner flat is one-bedroom and it is so small that I can’t even get my furniture in it,” she said. “It’s really rough and there are broken windows and broken furniture everywhere. Besides, I’m not a pensioner yet.”

Still a few years off retirement age, Ms Ross said she was looking for full-time work but at the moment was working part-time. The rent for her state house takes up most of her pay.

“Good rental accommodation is hard to find in Whanganui and I definitely couldn’t afford anything at market rent, even if I could find anything.”

Ms Ross said she loved her home and was proud of it.

Although I understand that uninvited change is frequently unwanted, and 30 years may indeed make her feel like the home is hers, the fact is that it isn’t.   All across the country, people are being asked to move out because the owner of the home has other plans for the property.   Being a social housing tenant, a tenant of the state, is no different.

To top it all off, they’ve looked at the numbers and realised Wendy’s been taking the piss.  She actually does well enough not to need social housing at all.  Instead of living alone and rattling around in a 3 bedroom home at a highly subsidised rate, she can afford to live elsewhere and pay her own way.

So instead of whining, say “thank you” to the taxpayer for supporting you and your family up to this point, and it’s time for you to leave the nest.  At last.


NB:  Wendy, you could consider moving somewhere else also.  It’s something the rest of us have to do.  And it really does start at numbers that are extremely affordable.



– Wanganui Chronicle


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  • Usaywot

    I’m looking forward to the day they move the clown from Taniwha St in Glen Innes who has a great big sign across the front of her state house saying “This House is Occupied” Talk about a sense of entitlement. I have a nasty feeling no one has the nerve to move her. All the houses around her have been vacated.

    • waldopepper

      yes, i drive past that one myself twice a week. bulldozer should do it.

      • Quinton Hogg

        Drove past it the other day.
        Should be able to put at least 4 new staties on the section.
        what impressed me were the new staties that had been built and are being built in the area. very nice. i hope the new tenants look after them.

        • waldopepper

          yeah, good luck with that. the blocks down in glen innes that were built ten years ago have not been looked after from what i can see. and as for the huge playground that was put in, where they could have built an entire nother building of apartments – ive never seen a kid playing there once. we need to stop doing things with rose coloured glasses on i think. stop doing things for how we want people to be, and instead face the facts that people generally are the way they are, and dont change.

          • Quinton Hogg

            We live in hope.

          • Usaywot

            The new houses being built in Glen Innes are a mix of own your own and state. I’m not sure what the ratio is but the hope is that the people who own their houses will influence those that don’t to do the right thing. Myself, I wouldn’t risk buying there.

          • waldopepper

            i recall talking to several developers 20 years ago about glen innes. i asked why they were not buying up property down there and developing it. they said the area was too entrenched and would not improve significantly in their life time. they were early 50’s then, so early 70’s now. i guess they were right after all.

  • waldopepper

    the sense of entitlement is strong with this one. im constantly staggered by this mentality. state houses should be for those in need. and should always be considered temporary by those lucky enough to have them. as your kids move on, you no longer need a three bedroom house, you need a one bedroom house. if thats not good enough for you, move out into the free market. whatever you decide, stop complaining cupcake, and as the man said, say thank you to the taxpayer for 30 years of subsidised living on the way out.

  • Grizz30

    While I share your sentiment and would suggest that Housing NZ resources would be better rationalized if they downsized her accommodation, freeing up her home for a family, I cannot believe you would suggest she move to Murupara when her job is in Whanganui.

    • Dave

      Fixed it for you, for as little as $72K or as much as around $1Mill, she can have her own property in Wanganui. Now, if only she had saved $1.5K a year over 30 years plus the interest she could have been freehold NOW.

      Also, If she has a JOB, she should have been out of social housing many moons ago.

      • Dave

        Or if she wants to rent…… For as little as $150 a week, she can have a THREE BEDROOM place – not too bad either.


        • Grizz30

          Dave, if she bout the 72k house, borrowed the lot at a 4.19% mortgage (the lowest going last time i checked) her repayments could be as low as $162 per fortnight. In other words $81 per week. So the question is, why is she renting at all? She should be looking for something to buy.

          • Spiker

            Probably a lack of financial awareness. Maybe if someone offered some guidance and she was willing to accept it the chances are she could could be in a much better situation in a short amount of time. She needs to see the opportunities rather than be digging her heels in.

          • Dave

            I didn’t want to go there, the math would have hurt her too much. And imagine if she then RENTED it out, she could have had an income stream.

    • Part time job in Whanganui. Perhaps a full time job in Murupara. Or elsewhere. That’s the point. 30 years and she’s never been uprooted. No doubt a shock to the system. But, you know, Real Life came calling.

      Should she be protected by the state from such change?

      • Grizz30

        Full time job in Murupara? You need to get out more.

        • [MOD] And you need to be careful not to kick the shins of someone who can be having a bad day. Keep on the message, don’t attack me.

          • KiwiLliz

            Oops, sorry Pete … should have scrolled down before I hit reply.

        • KiwiLliz

          Think you might have missed the “Or elsewhere.” sentence. Just sayin’.

        • Mark

          Cannabis crops don’t plant themselves!

  • KatB

    I know a family where one of the daughters was living at home looking after her elderly father that had dementia. This was in the state house that the family had occupied for years. As soon as her dad died, she was given only a few weeks to find alternative accommodation and the state house had to be vacated. Fair enough, no arguments there. The family knew they’d had it good for years and knew what the score would be when dad died. The hardest thing for the daughter was, not knowing how long she would be needed as a carer, she couldn’t start looking for alternative accommodation until her dad died, but she managed to sort things quickly after his death. This lady in the article should have been planning for that eventuality too. She would’ve have known it was coming.

    • SlightlyStrange

      With her not being a named tenant, a few weeks was probably beyond their legal requirement.
      But I agree it would have been hard – sorting her fathers stuff and getting herself into new accommodation, while probably not having had much income as a carer for a while. Glad she did ok once it all happened.

  • Eiselmann

    Paid 45k for my two bedroom warm and dry quarter acre garaged property with million dollar views 18 months ago ..sure I had to leave Auckland ,but insurance is much less and the internet so much better.

    Ms Ross take advantage of whats out there rather than your default position that the gummint needs to sort out your live

  • Huia

    The crux of the whole thing is that it is NOT Ms Ross’s house.
    She has been safely ensconced in it for 30 years and considers it her home and yet has not contributed one thing to the upkeep obviously, she has sat on her tail feathers and not put in a garden or done any planting or anything to enhance the property.
    You might ask her why?
    I guarantee the response would be, “because its not my house”.
    So we are giving you notice, time to move on so we can help someone else, time for some tough love and a fresh start for you to take responsibility for yourself it really isn’t up to us anymore.
    As taxpayers who have worked hard we are telling you to take care of yourself now and get off the state breast feeding lark. the place looks like a tip and you should be dammed well ashamed of the way you haven’t looked after our property.

    • ex-JAFA

      Who needs ‘gotcha politics’ when life has ‘gotcha reality’ on hand? All entitlement, no responsibility. You can’t have it both ways, Ms Ross.

  • OneTrack

    “This is about greed,” she said.”

    Yes. But whose greed?

  • sandalwood789

    “…why are they trying to make me leave my home?”

    Uh….. newsflash, Ms Ross – it’s *not* your home – it is *our* home.
    It belongs to the *taxpayers*, not you. You’ve had 30 years to learn the word “tenant”.
    Stop whining and treat this change as an *opportunity*.

  • Anthony

    I wonder how she reconciles the house being empty vs people living in cars?

  • Whitey

    Good rental accommodation is easy to find in Wanganui. So is cheap rental accommodation, and you can even find rentals that are both good and cheap. Demand for property is low in Wanganui, which ensures private rental costs stay low and is one of the reasons HNZ is selling Wanganui state houses in the first place. If Ms Ross can’t find an affordable rental in Wanganui then I have to wonder just what her expectations are.