Small businesses face massive rent increases from KiwiRail

Small businesses face massive rent increases from KiwiRail

KiwiRail has been losing money, and the Government wants to turn it around.

But KiwiRail is also one of the biggest landowners in the country, and what better way to make money than to cash in on the hot Auckland property market by hiking the rents of your tenants?

Some businesses face rent increases of close to 300 percent, so Story went out and met some of those people. They're not happy. They face losing their livelihoods.

Brent Hubbard and Harley Haynes sell fancy palms to the rich and famous, and to the Auckland Council.

They have half a hectare in Onehunga, and have been there 15 years. They rent the land from KiwiRail.

But KiwiRail is tripling their rent after five years paying the same rate.

KiwiRail is doing nothing illegal, but the Government wants KiwiRail to make more money, to act more commercially. It lost $248 million last year.

It's been broke for years. Taxpayers have pumped $1 billion into it since 2010 as a bailout. Now it's getting more hard-nosed, saying: "We believe we have balanced fairness to our tenants with fairness to taxpayers who are putting money in to KiwiRail every year."

KiwiRail says it is its right to set market prices on commercial tenancies.

Watch the video for the full Story report.

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