• Video: Dan Gale says Category 3 property owners have nothing left to contribute

Video: Dan Gale says Category 3 property owners have nothing left to contribute

Cyclone Category 3 property owners, who face being charged with some of the cost of demolishing their homes, have nothing left to contribute, says Dan Gale, the owner of the Eskdale Holiday Park.

Gale gave an impassioned speech to the Hastings District Council yesterday about a report before council proposing that Category 3 property owners pay some of the costs for demolishing their homes. The Napier City Council will also hear a similar proposal at a later council meeting.

Gale told the Council that the property owners had been blindsided, “having been told throughout the whole process that these demolitions costs would be covered by council”.

The previous Government decided not to contribute to demolition costs as part of its Cost Share Agreement with Council, so demolition and other residential improvements falls on the Councils. The new Government has not indicated that it will change this decision.

In a joint statement this week, the Hastings District Council and the Napier City Council said they were considering a change to the Cyclone Gabrielle Category 3 Buy-out Policy to “fix an anomaly”.

The report prepared for Hastings District Council says that in total, demolition costs are likely to exceed $6 million.

After hearing a presentation from Dan Gale, a spokesperson for Category Three property owners, and after robust debate on the subject, the council decided to “leave a decision on the table”.

Speaking to Hawke’s Bay App today, Gale said that he felt the lack of a decision meant that the councillors weren’t “totally abreast of all the issues that were put in front of them”.

“It's a very in-depth topic, and I think they need to get the proper answers. And when they adjourned, they couldn't get the answers that they required. So I think I have a pretty solid case.”

“We are unsure yet when the next meeting will be, but I will be seeking a consultation with the Council about why my view is representative of our people. And yeah, I have a lot of backing and a lot of people are very upset with what's been proposed.”

“We have paid with everything we have, and some have even paid with their life. How much more contribution do you want? Come on. There is nothing left to contribute,” said Gale.

He said he felt his presentation was well-received by several councillors and definitely well-received by the community that came up to support him.

“Yesterday I was afforded the opportunity to speak at the Hastings District Council to represent category three landowners against the contribution fee that they're proposing to imply on us after they had told our communities that they will cover the costs.”

“It would mean that certain groups who the Voluntary Buyout Offer deem well-insured and that may receive insurance proceeds above market value, that means that they would have to contribute to the demolition costs.”

Gale says the issue is that the demolition component of the insurance is only available if someone has received a full payout.

“So for example, you might have a million-dollar house, if you had to repair or rebuild it. If you're only insured for 5 or 600,000, you're only going to get paid out that amount, but it's going to be deemed a full payout, and therefore that will include a demolition component, and that might be, say, $50,000.”

“Now, the council would like to take off that person, and they're already behind the eight-ball. So instead of being able to rebuild in situ their four-bedroom home, they might only be able to rebuild a two and a half bedroom home. There is a reason why some places, not all, are exceeding their market values as determined by the valuations.”

Watch the accompanying video to see the full interview with Dan Gale.