Cyclone Hola: Tauranga residents urgently evacuate

Some residents in Tauranga have had to urgently evacuate their new homes amid concerns they are unsafe. 

It's feared Cyclone Hola may trigger slips in an unfinished housing development. 

But residents are outraged and say they've been calling for the problems to be fixed for months. 

Thirteen families have received immediate evacuation notices from the Tauranga City Council.

Some houses have structural problems that may not withstand strong winds, while other homes are at risk from the unretained slope.

Tauranga City Council chief executive Garry Poole says, "We have identified there is a risk of an unretained slope collapsing and as a result of that we have taken the step to evacuate the families from the site."

Bella Vista Homes worked on the houses but never got around to building the retaining wall and then went into liquidation.

Mr Poole says Bell Vista assured the council it would build the retaining wall.   

"The reality is the law does not empower council to dictate the sequencing of work. We were in constant communication with the building company about the need to retain the slope."

Bella Vista's liquidation has left behind 30 unfinished houses and $4.3 million in debt.

The liquidators told Newshub they are considering taking legal action against the council but they are waiting to hear back from their solicitors before making a decision next week. 

The council says three houses also have structural problems that may not withstand strong winds.

It's hoped the residents will be able to return to their homes in a week, but the council says right now its focus is on getting the families into code-compliant homes.