Rich lister Rod Duke has angered some neighbours over a boatshed with a James Bond-style helipad in New Zealand's most expensive suburb.
The managing director of the Briscoe Group is building a multi-million dollar home on two adjoining clifftop sites at Sarsfield St in Herne Bay with sweeping views of the Waitemata Harbour.
The work includes renovating an old boat shed on Sentinel Beach with a roof that folds back just as a chopper is about to land.
This issue has raised an enormous furore in the local community
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Duke, worth $750 million in last year's NBR rich list, has consent to make three flights a week from the structure after earlier applying for six flights. Last December, Duke said he did not own a helicopter but hired one.
A boat shed on the next door property, which QV records show is owned by Duke and former Briscoes executive director Alaister Wall, is also being worked on.
In the last few weeks, the businessman has made enemies with locals, and faces possible legal proceedings following an investigation by Auckland Council, which found several discrepancies between the resource and building consents.
The council has contacted Duke and told him he should seek further planning advice before doing further work.
"We will continue to monitor the site. Our compliance investigators are speaking to the consent holders and will consider enforcement action if steps aren't taken to resolve the issues," the council said in a statement to the Herald on Sunday.
Regulatory compliance manager Steve Pearce said the discrepancies relate to questions about the long-term use of the larger boat house but would not go into detail until discussing the matter with the owner.
"We also have concerns about the demolition and reconstruction of the smaller boathouse," Pearce said.
He would not rule out taking enforcement action that could involve legal proceedings, abatement notices or notices to fix.
"Formal enforcement is not taken lightly and is based on thorough investigation. We take into account the impact, and what the person responsible has done to fix the situation," Pearce said.
Paul Cavanagh, a retired QC and member of the Herne Bay Residents Association, said it seemed clear to him the council now accepted that for work to continue on the large boatshed new resource consents would be required and, in his view, a stop work notice should be issued until the planning issue was resolved.
He believed the council had badly handled the issue and now was the opportunity to put it right by assessing the effect of developing a public beach for private use.
"What rights do private individuals have to aggregate to themselves public beaches? They have got no such right. It is outrageous.
"This issue has raised an enormous furore in the local community," said Cavanagh.
Herne Bay Residents Association co-chairman Don Mathieson was disappointed that, in his view, council was not doing its duty, saying he believed it had been effectively assisting Duke to take ownership of the beach by taking nearly a month to respond to allegations of unlawful activities.
He said people come from all over Auckland to swim at Sentinel Beach and will be affected by the new structures and helicopters flying in and out, with the draft of their blades whipping up sand, towels and clothing.
Waitemata councillor Mike Lee supported calls for an immediate halt to work, saying it appears the council treats ordinary citizens differently to the super rich.
Duke has not returned calls from the Herald on Sunday.