Former High Court judge Paul Heath QC will undertake a thorough investigation into the city council's role in the Bella Vista buildings.

The scope of the investigation would be limited to the Bella Vista Homes at Lakes Boulevard and Aneta Way.

Heath was appointed as a judge of the High Court of New Zealand in April 2002 and had recently retired from the bench.

Tauranga City Council chief executive Garry Poole said Heath would deliver a report by June 1. This will allow elected members to consider its findings ahead of making a decision on the council's preferred option for homeowners on June 6.


Poole said Heath's appointment will ensure an independent, fair and impartial investigation.

"As a former High Court judge, Paul Heath QC is experienced and highly regarded," Poole said.

Heath was involved in a number of high-profile and complex cases including the Earthquake Commission against the Insurance Council following the Christchurch earthquakes.

He was also involved in the judge-alone trial of the directors and chief executive officer of South Canterbury Finance.

"Council will provide him with full access to our records and staff if required. I believe owners and our ratepayers can have absolute confidence in this investigation," Poole said.

Heath is independent and has no personal connections to the council.

He has experience with the Building Act, having ruled in a case commonly known as 'Sunset Terraces' between the North Shore City Council and Body Corporate 188529.

He found against the council and ruled that local bodies owed a duty of care to homeowners when inspecting residential buildings pursuant to the Building Act 1991. That decision was upheld by the Supreme Court.


As part of the investigation, Heath will hold a public meeting with owners from the Bella Vista Homes development on May 8. Other parties directly associated with the development will also be able to attend, including sub-contractors and builders, to provide their feedback.

The outcome of the investigation will be shared with homeowners.