"Disgusted and appalled."


These are the reactions of two Bella Vista homeowners to hearing details of Tauranga City Council's buy-out offer from media this morning before any contact from the council.

Council chief executive Garry Poole confirmed earlier that the offers signed off by elected members last night were based on the prices homeowners initially paid for their home builds plus expenses.


He has defended the decision to release that information, citing intense media interest and the need to be transparent with the whole community.

It was news homeowners had been waiting 47 days for since the council agreed on June 6 to buy their homes.

Homeowners said at the time they wanted the offer set at market value as if there were no defects.

Homeowner Tony Mann said shortly after 11am that he had not seen so much as an email from the council or his lawyer with information about the offer.

"I am sure our lawyer would have come to us straight away."

"I am disgusted to see this coming through on social media. To see [council chief executive] Garry Poole just blurted it out...absolutely disgusting."

He said, based on the information about the calculation, the offer was "not good enough".

"The market has moved on in the last two-and-a-half years and we can't buy back into the same market with that."


He said he would be taking legal advice about his next steps.

Andre Stewart in front of his unfinished home when Bella Vista Homes went into liquidation in December. File photo
Andre Stewart in front of his unfinished home when Bella Vista Homes went into liquidation in December. File photo

Another homeowner, Andre Stewart, said he was disappointed to have heard the news from reporters before any official contact.

"I'm disappointed to have seen it in the media before I heard it from the council," Stewart said this morning from the site of his unfinished home in The Lakes.

He said he was not ready to comment on what he had been offered as he had not seen it, or had an opportunity to get legal advice.

Tauranga City Council confirmed this morning it had agreed to make offers to buy the 21 homes in the failed subdivision for the price homeowners initially paid plus expenses.

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless initially confirmed to NZME the council had unanimously agreed to make the offers but would not say how the offer amounts were calculated.

"I am worried about them [the homeowners] hearing it through the media, you understand," he said.

He said a "confidential offer" would be sent to each homeowner's' lawyer today.

Council chief executive Garry Poole confirmed to other media outlets the offer was not based on market value, and rather on what homeowners paid for their houses plus expenses.

He later repeated that information to NZME, as did Brownless.

Poole said there was "intense media interest" in the issue "generated primarily by homeowners and a number of Facebook pages floating around on social media."

"We took the view that we needed to be open and transparent with all of the community of Tauranga."

Previous communication between the council and homeowners had been in the public domain within an hour of sending it, he said.

That included letters sent on Monday about the council needing to do further invasive testing on some houses.

Poole said the council had made a fair and reasonable offer and was ready to "sit at the table and conclude our negotiation".

He said the council had to balance the interests of homeowners with those of Tauranga ratepayers.

He expected the council's insurers would pick up the "vast majority" of the buy-out cost.

The offer was based on advice from former Court of Appeal judge Rhys Harrison QC.