Corazon Miller is a NZ Herald reporter

Auckland property developer to pay over substantial land damage

An Auckland property developer's attempt to avoid paying council damages over unconsented work he'd carried out on a patch of land north of Auckland has failed. NZH/Nick Reed
An Auckland property developer's attempt to avoid paying council damages over unconsented work he'd carried out on a patch of land north of Auckland has failed. NZH/Nick Reed

An Auckland property developer's attempt to avoid paying council damages over unconsented work he'd carried out on a patch of land north of Auckland has failed.

The High Court in Auckland has ruled Augustine Lau's appeal over an earlier decision seeking costs "hopeless" and "entirely without merit".

A recently published document on the ruling showed Lau had carried out a "substantial amount" of unconsented work on Weranui Rd, Waiwera, in 2013.

The work which included excavation has created a "precarious situation" in respect to a number of large rocks and large trees and had led to a number of other safety concerns, over site stability, slippage and erosion.

"The current state of the earthworks represents a danger to any person on the land," the document read.

"The damage to vegetation has had a significant negative effect not only on the stability of the site, but on the intactness and connectedness of the indigenous vegetation and the flora and fauna supported by it."

In July 2015 the council applied for enforcement orders requiring remediation of the damage, against Lau, on the basis he'd managed the works, Lucky Wu Limited, a company claiming right to possession and Qiufen Lu, a registered landowner.

In April this year, the Environment Court ruledthe cost incurred by Auckland Council in obtaining expert reports to assess the geotechnical concerns would be borne by Lau.

The property developer had 15 days to appeal, but sought an extension on the time within which he could appeal - which the High Court denied, along with his proposed appeal, on Tuesday.

The document said Lau had laid his appeal on the grounds that council had a conflict of interest, its officers were negligent in their duties, and that it had double standards compared to other sites.

However, the court ruled the proposed appeal was "hopeless and entirely without merit" and that Lau had failed to identify a "serious argument" and thus the application for special leave was dismissed.

Mr Lau was ordered to pay the council costs.

- NZ Herald

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