All is not well on one of Auckland's famous streets. A group of Richlisters has applied to build a helipad on Paritai Drive in Ōrākei. Anne Gibson reports on simmering tension featuring a former reality TV star, some big business names - and the question as to whether people should be able to come and go from city homes in their helicopters.
A Richlister's heliport application in an exclusive dress-circle Ōrākei street has inflamed a high-profile neighbour, who has encouraged others to lodge opposing submissions directly with the Civil Aviation Authority.
Louise Wallace, who appeared in the television series The Real Housewives Of Auckland, has posted strongly against the plans for 74 Paritai Dr.
"Do you want a helicopter falling out of the sky in a massive fireball on your house, kids and pets?" asked the Paritai Dr resident on social media.
"No! We do not. Get in a car and drive five minutes to the Mechanics Bay heliport for God's sake. C'mon. Let the CAA know this is not on."
Submissions on the plans closed on April 30 and an authority spokesman said no information on those could be released until they had been assessed.
The plans are opposed by the Ōrākei Local Board and Ōrākei Residents Association, who do not want helicopters taking off, landing and flying over other properties.
The property at 74 Paritai Dr is owned by Tappenden Holdings, controlled by a group of wealthy businessmen including Trevor and Dean Farmer, George France, Greg Horton and Dean Hamilton.
Wallace's anti-heliport post drew mixed reactions: some said helicopters hardly ever fell from the sky in a fireball, others said the issue was about ego and asked if she was jealous.
Wallace tried to garner involvement from councillor Desley Simpson but Simpson told the Herald the issue was one for the local board.
Wallace said she wanted to make it very clear she had "nothing against the people involved or travel by chopper per se. But this sets a bad precedent for anyone with a confined, spare section between houses to use as a heliport for no good reason other than it's convenient. If it's on a large rural property that's different. This is not. This is a local neighbourhood: elderly, pets, babies in prams, kids on bikes. As we've seen in the news over the last year, helicopters are not failsafe."
The authority's notice said it had notification from Advance Flight Ltd of a proposal to build the heliport at the Paritai Dr property.
The authority must consider the effect on neighbouring aerodromes, other airspace users, the safety of people and property on the ground and effects on existing or proposed man-made objects and natural objects.
Rod Duke, head of Briscoes, has lodged a new application for his Herne Bay property where he hopes to get consent for a helipad in a boatshed on the beach.
Richard Brabant, a barrister, submitted the new application to the council. The outcome of that is yet to be announced although testing was carried out in April.