Auckland Council agrees to cost-sharing buyout deal for storm-damaged red-stickered homes

Auckland Councillors have just finished a meeting on Friday where they've been deciding on compensation payouts for homeowners whose houses were seriously damaged in storms earlier this year.

It's been a long, slow process for a group of west Auckland residents stuck in 'no man's land' after being told they'll have to wait and see whether their homes can be saved.

Eight months ago, the hillside hurtled toward Melissa Dickinson's Muriwai home of 36 years.

She still hears the trees cracking in her nightmares, but that's nothing compared to the life-threatening stress of not knowing what the future holds.

"A month after the event I had a heart attack [but] I'm fine," Dickinson told Newshub.

"My doctor, and all the results that I've had, show there's no physical problem - it's been a stress-related thing. I pride myself as being quite resilient and I never thought anything like this would ever come my way. 2023 has just been the worst year ever."

Dickinson can't live at her house. It was red-stickered before being deemed category 2/3.

Put simply, the council hasn't decided whether it's salvageable or if the slip's too risky. She hopes for the latter, and therefore a payout.

Muriwai homeowner Melissa Dickinson suffered a heart attack due to severe stress.
Muriwai homeowner Melissa Dickinson suffered a heart attack due to severe stress. Photo credit: Newshub.

Newshub went to the foot of the slip just across the road from her house in Domain Crescent.

Dickinson is worried in another storm event it could slide even further.

"Until you live in a community like this you don't understand the benefits, the joy, the comradery, the friendship - my neighbours for 36 years - it's incredible. To have to walk away from that is not an easy decision," she said.

So, her fate lies with Auckland Council. Today they met behind closed doors to decide whether to accept a cost-sharing deal proposed by the Government.

Maria Koppens, a key figure in the Muriwai Stickered Residents Group, has a message for the city's powerbrokers.

"What we're asking for is a fair and equitable buyout process that doesn't discriminate and prevent people from moving on with their lives," she told Newshub.

Her son Bede wants a word too.

"It's concerning because you don't know if you're gonna have a house again. It's just sad because you lost your house," he said.

Dickinson has lived through one disaster - now it's the unknown that scares her.

"It's… pretty hard."

She, like so many, just wants to move on.