Auckland homeless enjoy million-dollar view
Monday 24 Mar 2014 5:46 p.m.
Homeless people living in their vehicles on Auckland's waterfront have the best views in town, and it is not costing them a cent.
John Nay wakes up and eats breakfast looking at a multi-million-dollar view every morning. He has done so rent-free for the past two years.
He has got a kitchen set up between his farm-registered SUV and the waterfront fence, but the Auckland Council says he does not have approval to be there permanently parking overnight and parking officers have given him dozens of fines.
Because the road is a public highway and hazardous chemicals are stored in the nearby silo tank, the council discourages visitors from staying at Wynyard Point for long periods of time.
Mr Nay told 3 News he would be happy to move in to a mobile home with the council's help. For now though, he says he has nowhere else to go, so he is staying put.
And he is not alone; several other freedom campers are parked up along the waterfront.
Just down the road, under Auckland Harbour Bridge, Ray Carter is parked up on vacant land that he believes is under-utilised.
"We're self-contained vehicles. We don't drop anything. We have a toilet and shower so we're perfectly self-contained. It's just so beautiful here to have grass under our feet," says Mr Carter.
City Mission commissioner Diane Robertson says there are few options for Auckland's homeless.
"Finding houses, appropriate, safe, warm housing, is really, really difficult to do, and for the people we work with, they are the ones at the bottom of the pile, so their options are incredibly limited," says Ms Robertson.
The council says ultimately Mr Nay will have to find a more appropriate place to live, but after two years of sitting on prime real estate he is in no hurry.