Let the record show Seddon House was bought for $400,000 – and then let’s wonder if it will be renamed

It’s great to get prompt feedback – and that’s what we got in response to our raising questions about the Government’s $22 million investment in a bit of real estate in Hokitika.

A Beehive press officer contacted us to question our headline, which said: DOC staff in Hokitika could have been housed for a song a few years ago – now it will cost us $22 million.

The Beehive staffer said this suggests the Govt is spending $22m buying Seddon House when it could have been bought “for a song” some years ago.

But this (he contended) was misleading because: 

“The vast bulk of the $22m is going towards the restoration of building with only $400k on the actual purchase.”

The Beehive staffer acknowledged this  detail wasn’t included in the announcement on the website.

He also sent us the background notes that  accompanied the full press release to the Greystar on Saturday. Continue reading “Let the record show Seddon House was bought for $400,000 – and then let’s wonder if it will be renamed”

DOC staff in Hokitika could have been housed for a song a few years ago – now it will cost us $22 million

“Going for a song” was how the former Hokitika government building known as Seddon House was advertised in 2014.

According to an NBR report at that time, Barfoot & Thompson was listing Seddon House at $295,000, down from $1.2 million in 2008.  It had a rateable value of $340,000 and had last changed hands in 2002 for $90,000.

Its value today?  We can only guess, but Hokitika has been described as “the most affordable” suburb in the Westland district and has a median house price of $274,700.

We checked out those property figures after learning the government has earmarked Seddon House in Hokitika (“once a hub for government on the West Coast”) for government use once again.

A hub for government sounds impressive, although the press statement referred only to DOC staff  working from there.

A brick, timber and corrugated iron construction, Seddon House is a Category 1 historic place on the New Zealand Heritage List Rārangi Kōrero.  It will undergo seismic strengthening and be refitted for use as offices for the Department of Conservation (DOC), which will lease the building.

So how much does it cost to find new office space for around 85 DOC staff?

Brace for a nasty surprise, dear taxpayer. Continue reading “DOC staff in Hokitika could have been housed for a song a few years ago – now it will cost us $22 million”