Illegal building prosecution goes ahead

By tessa.johnstone@age.co.nz, Tessa Johnstone


South Wairarapa District Council is pressing on with an Environment Court prosecution of a Wellington man who put a house on a Martinborough section without consent.

The council is taking legal action against Lower Hutt man Matthew Blaikie after council staff noticed in February that a villa had been placed on the Ferry Rd section.

Resource and building consents had not been issued, and planning and environment manager Glenn Bunny said the council made an enforcement order after other means were exhausted.

"We spent some time trying to contact the person, he failed to respond and we had no option but to start a legal process."

After he was contacted by lawyers, Mr Blaikie submitted building and resource consent applications which were granted retrospectively.

Mr Bunny said the council felt it was appropriate to continue with the enforcement order, and was waiting for a hearing date to be set at the Environment Court.

"It's important that people get the right paperwork and council do the right checking before people do stuff like relocate a house on their land. It's a health and safety issue. People have to follow due process."

Mr Bunny said the rules existed for everybody and the consistency in enforcement of the rules was important.

The council has incurred legal costs of between $5000 and $6000 for the prosecution, and Mr Bunny said although it was up to the court what costs or fines were ordered the council hoped to recoup its legal costs.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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