An Auckland property developer has been jailed for a further two years which Auckland Council said was a record.
Businessman Augustine Lau was sentenced by Judge Craig Thompson in the Auckland District Court.
He faced a series of charges for work on six properties including at Flat Bush, Pāremoremo and Otāhuhu.
Linda Cooper, chair of the council's regulatory committee, said that sent a strong message.
"This strong decision of the court shows that Aucklanders don't have to put up with illegal antics from dubious developers. It sends a clear message that these actions, which affect things like water quality and public health, are not acceptable and will not be tolerated," she said.
Lau was sentenced to two years' jail for breaches of the Resource Management Act and Companies Act across a number of properties.
A council statement said that was the longest jail term handed down under the RMA. The largest previously was six months.
"While the council encourages development to meet the current housing shortage, the rules are there for a reason. Our officers won't hesitate to take action if you're doing it illegally, at the expense of the environment," Cooper said.
Lau faced 17 charges under the RMA and 10 under the Building Act, in addition to charges under the Companies Act, for undertaking illegal development of six properties around the Auckland region.
The council statement said it was hoped that sentence would stop others offending
Steve Pearce, regulatory compliance manager, welcomed the sentence saying it would be a significant deterrent for other property developers tempted to follow Lau's offending.
"This has been a difficult and significant case that the council has been working on for a number of years. We are pleased to have reached this point and received such a significant penalty from the court. We generally take a graduated approach to enforcement and will help people to comply where we can, either by giving advice and warnings first or giving them the opportunity to apply for any consents and permits that might be necessary.
"However, in cases such as this, where there are significant adverse effects and an offender who continually ignores the council's requests, we will use all of the enforcement tools available to us, including pursuing offenders through the courts," Pearce said.
The council statement said the Flat Bush was allowed a single dwelling but that was converted into two dwellings, while two former classrooms and a relocated weatherboard house were moved there. A total of eight dwellings were on the property.
"A property in Pāremoremo, with a single house and a garage, was also permitted to have one dwelling and one minor dwelling. Lau took over management of the property, converted the original house into three dwellings, the garage into another dwelling, and relocated a weatherboard house onto the property which was made into five dwellings – a total of nine," the statement said.
It was reported in January that Lau had been sentenced to two-and-a-half months in prison for damaging seven protected native trees in 2014 after receiving multiple warnings from the local council.