A Government department is reviewing the failed Bella Vista Homes development in Tauranga to decide whether to investigate.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment confirmed to the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday it was looking at the consenting, testing and investigative information the Tauranga City Council provided about The Lakes development.

MBIE's acting building system assurance manager Paul Hobbs said that information, and a report by Paul Heath QC, will help the ministry decide whether to investigate further.

Heath's independent report into the council's role in the failed Bella Vista development, released on Wednesday, found the council acted correctly in some areas but failed in others.


Heath said an inquiry or investigation was needed into why the council failed to adequately perform relevant regulatory functions.

He also recommended the council take immediate steps to resolve outstanding differences between it and the homeowners.

On Wednesday afternoon, Tauranga councillors unanimously voted in principle to buy the 21 Bella Vista homes that were part of the failed subdivision.

The council will now look at negotiating with homeowners to achieve full and final settlement.

Hobbs said yesterday the ministry had seen Heath's report on the council website on Wednesday.

"Tauranga City Council is not obliged to provide MBIE with a copy of [the] report, but has been keeping MBIE informed throughout this process.

"MBIE is still in the process of understanding the report's implications from a regulatory perspective."

Hobbs said if serious or repeated non-compliance was identified at any time, MBIE could undertake an investigation under the Building Act 2004 to determine whether the Building Consent Authority had failed to perform its building control functions.

"MBIE would support any steps Tauranga City Council takes to identify and remedy issues that have occurred with Bella Vista to prevent them happening in the future, but ultimately the decision to appoint an independent investigator rests with the council."

Council chief executive Garry Poole said on Wednesday the council acknowledged the findings of Heath's report and would assess the recommendations.

"He (Heath) has encouraged council to look at why, and this is something we will go away and consider further," Poole said.

Regarding any potential MBIE investigation, Poole said on Friday afternoon: "We are happy to work with MBIE in any way moving forward. We have briefed officials about council's decision to agree in principle to purchase the 21 Bella Vista properties at Lakes Boulevard/Aneta Way and we have sent them Paul Heath's report."

Report conclusions

In his report summary, Paul Heath, QC, reached the following conclusions:

•Council dealt adequately with the resource consent applications made in respect of the Bella Vista subdivision.

•Council did not perform monitoring and enforcement functions adequately in relation to geotechnical aspects of the intended construction works.

•Council performed building consent functions adequately for those issued before 23 December 2016 but failed to make appropriate inquiries in respect of those granted on or after that date.

•Council did not perform its Building Act inspection functions adequately, in respect of both geotechnical and structural considerations.

•Council ought not to have issued code compliance certificates for 297 and 311 Lakes Boulevard, and 2 and 4 Aneta Way.

•It was appropriate for the council, on 16 April 2018, to declare all buildings in the Bella Vista subdivision either "dangerous" or "affected" on the basis of the professional advice it received on or about April 15, 2018.