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Waipiro Bay leaseholders 'blindsided' by 400 percent hike on annual fees

Property owners at Waipiro Bay have been left “blindsided” after annual fees on their leased land increased by about 400 percent for this year.

A property owner of 30 years says she and her husband lease four sections of land at Waipiro Bay and one section has buildings on it.

She could not believe it when she read their lease had gone up from $1200 a year to $5200.

“It was quite a shock. They back-dated it six months as well.”

Her husband said they were “blindsided”.

A couple on a fixed income moved out of their rented home at Waipiro Bay because the weekly rent doubled overnight — from $200 to $400 — which they found unaffordable.

Another building owner surrendered his lease at Waipiro Bay and walked away because the potential land return was less than the lease rental.

The leased land is managed by Te Tumu Paeroa — an organisation that administers the leases on behalf of landowners.

Ruatoria, Te Araroa and Tokomaru Bay leases have also been affected.

Te Tumu Paeroa collects rent, deducts an administration fee, then gives the balance to landowners.

The building owners have 21-year leases on the land, with rent reviews every seven years.

The Waipiro Bay property owners called Te Tumu Paeroa to ask why there had been such a hefty increase.

“They told me the reason was to bring it in line with national prices.

“We have lodged an objection, as other people have, and we are just waiting to see.”

Their land is owned by multiple parties, some descendants of the Williams family, and there are others from Maori families as well.

The list of names of the landowners is huge as the land has been passed down from generation to generation.

“I also asked why it had been back-dated, and they said because that’s when the rent should have gone up.”

The property owner was concerned the high lease cost would devalue their property and make it hard if they ever wanted to on-sell the lease and house on it.

Another couple have leased three sections at Waipiro Bay since about 1993.

At first, the increases were very reasonable, the property owner said.

“Then they decided to push it. They doubled it about seven years ago, which was from $400 to $800.

“We weren’t happy but we paid it. But this last increase was from $800 to $2600.

“On this piece of land we lease, there is no drainage, no facilities. All they are charging us for is the land only, not the buildings.

“My point is, it is unfair. It is not reasonable.

“If we were in Queenstown, and we had infrastructure, yes, maybe.

“But when you are out in the wop-wops and they offer you absolutely nothing . . ?”

“This is where we come from. This is where my parents and grandparents are buried, this is where we belong. We are not outsiders.

“My concern is when we retire, we will not be able to afford it. So where do you go?”

Te Tumu Paeroa sent registered valuers, without the lease owners’ knowledge, to allegedly walk over the property and value the sections.

The building owners knew nothing about it and were not informed.

“And guess what? They can review it again in seven years and it could go up again.”

Waipiro Bay file photo