Rich-lister Rod Duke is pressing on to complete his controversial Herne Bay mansion, despite the Auckland Council siding with his legal opponent over "issues" with a harbourside helipad on a boatshed.
The Briscoe Group boss, estimated in the latest NBR rich list to be worth $750 million, yesterday defended the project, which he expected to be finished by early next year.
"I don't understand why the Kawau Island people are objecting to it," Duke told the Herald on Sunday. "I have met all the council regulations in respect of the rebuild of the boatshed."
An existing house has been gutted for the mansion on two adjoining cliff-top sites on Sarsfield St that Duke bought for $12 million. The work includes creating a fold-back roof on a boatshed at Sentinel Beach for up to three helicopter flights a week.
The Kawau Island Action (KIA) group last month sought an Environment Court halt to construction at the boatshed/helipad. This was because steel posts had replaced the wooden piles that the group understood were the basis of the resource consent.
Duke said yesterday: "We went to council and council approved the steel."
The court refused to order the immediate halt sought by KIA, a judge saying the arguments about the resource consent should go to a full hearing.
KIA feared that by the time of a full hearing was held, the construction could be completed and choppers could be flying onto and off the helipad.
On Friday, the council's lawyers said in a memorandum to the court that the council "supports the application made by KIA", subject to the court's concerns about jurisdiction and a clarification of the council's position.
"The council agrees with KIA that there are issues relating to whether the boat shed with the helicopter landing pad on the roof is being constructed in accordance with the plans and information submitted with [two resource applications]."
"The differences between the consented plans and the structure under construction which have been identified by the council go beyond those identified in KIA's application."
The resource consents authorising the boat shed and helipad are currently under review by the High Court.
Because of this, the council agrees with the view of Duke and his wife Patricia that any Environment Court hearing should not be held until after the High Court verdict.
Rod Duke said yesterday: "I'm of the understanding that that particular judgement will come through early in the new year. That will set the scene for what happens beyond that."
A council communications officer was unable to clarify the nature of the project's compliance issues, saying that the council's lawyers were unavailable at the weekend.
The KIA's chairman, Andy Coleman, could not be reached.