A Waiheke Island property owner has gone to the High Court over access to land owned by a trust linked to former Hanover Finance director Mark Hotchin.
Olo Ltd - a company directed Steve Caspar and Jo Richmond - bought a 1100 square metre property on Waiheke's Matapana Rd in 2010 from KA No 4, a trust associated with Hotchin's family.
The site shares a border with a 4.5ha property owned by another Hotchin family trust, called KA No 3. This much larger property at 46a Matapana Rd extends down to Boatshed Bay. On it sits a five-bedroom home, a four-car garage, four boat sheds, a boat ramp, spa pool and tennis court.
The original sale and purchase agreement for 34 Matapana Rd contained a clause allowing the buyer access through the larger neighbouring property at 46a, the High Court at Auckland heard today.
This access - extended for two years in April 2013 -was so the existing house on 34 Matapana could be demolished and a new one built.
The residents at 34 Matapana used 46a's 1km driveway and then went through part of the property to move their furniture into the existing house and Caspar believed the same access would be granted for the proposed building work, the court heard.
But Olo Ltd's lawyer, Ben Russell, said today the relationship between the parties became strained and in September or October last year the caretaker of 46a advised 34 they did not have access through the larger property.
KA No 3 was "quite firm that absolutely no access was allowed", Russell said.
"A vehicle was parked at the top of the driveway blocking the access and a gate was put up where a gate hadn't been in place before...it got to a point where access was blocked completely," Russell said.
Russell said the effect of this was that his client incurred additional building costs and that building work was put off until October this year.
Anticipating that 46a was going to be marketed for sale, Olo Ltd lodged a caveat over the neighbouring property and Russell applied today for that caveat to be sustained to protect his client's interests.
Russell also indicated his client intended to file further action against KA No 3.
The Queen's Counsel for KA No 3 Trustee, David Chisholm, said while there were contractual rights for access there was never an intention to create an easement.
These rights were personal between the parties and not tied to the land itself, Chisholm said.
"This present caveat cannot be sustained," he said.
Justice Graham Lang, who was considering the application, reserved his decision.
See below for a map showing the two properties in question. The large house in the middle with the tennis court is owned by KA No 3. House number 34 Matapana Road is below, with a white roof: