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March 3, 2008 | by  | in News | [ssba]

First-year students homeless, Blanket Man outraged

First-year students applying for accommodation in University-affiliated hostels for this year faced shortages in available rooms following the liquidation of student accommodation provider Edpac over the summer.

According to papers released by insolvency practitioners Shephard Dunphy, Edpac and its 17 related companies, including two university hostels – Southern Cross and VicCentral – were placed in liquidation on December 21 last year.

Since its liquidation, some Edpac-owned properties have been sold, while a number of tertiary education providers – including Victoria – have cancelled leases with others. Edpac was established to “develop, own and manage buildings that were to be utilised as student accommodation throughout New Zealand,” and in the past incorporated Southern Cross, VicCentral and St George.

Southern Cross is currently under new management, while some rooms in VicCentral are available to students for rent. St George remains as a University hall of residence this year, arranged by the University to be leased through another company.

In response to rumours that the University had provided financial loans to Edpac, Director of Student Services Ruth Moorhouse said that the University had decided not to enter into arrangements to provide accommodation to students through Edpac “after much work and negotiation.”

“The University worked hard to get the owners of Southern Cross and VicCentral to remain affiliated halls of residence but were not successful.”

The liquidation has been attributed to “poor [trading] from the outset… In many instances occupancy [in the buildings] did not reach breakeven levels.”

Shephard Dunphy was unable to provide an estimated statement of position at the time of writing, due to the vast number of companies concerned and the early stage of liquidation.

Efforts to contact Edpac director John White proved to be unsuccessful, with calls made to his listed telephone number reaching a disconnection message.


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