The sale of a coveted piece of land near Havelock North with approval for hundreds of new homes is now the subject of a legal challenge.
Almost 70 hectares between Iona, Middle and Lane Rds was sold by the Lowe family to CDL Land NZ Limited this year for an undisclosed amount.
A large portion of the land was rezoned in 2018 to allow 350 homes to be built.
But development company Winton has launched legal proceedings in the High Court to challenge CDL's purchase, under what is known as a judicial review.
The company declined to comment about why it was challenging the sale.
"Given the matter is before the High Court, Winton is unable to comment at this time," a spokeswoman said.
Winton is behind numerous large-scale residential projects in New Zealand and Australia.
The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) in July granted consent for the sale of the land to CDL.
The OIO assesses applications for consent from overseas people, or organisations that are more than 25 per cent overseas-owned.
In the reasons given for the consent, the office noted that CDL had "undertaken a number of previous investments that have resulted in benefit to New Zealand".
"Ministers granted consent to the investment because they considered the benefit likely to occur as a result of the investment to be substantial and identifiable," the decision read.
Only a person affected by a decision can apply for a High Court judicial review.
"If your application is successful the body that made the decision will be asked to reconsider their decision," the Ministry of Justice states on its website.
CDL Land NZ Limited said it would "vigorously defend its position".
"The judicial review action has been taken by the applicant [Winton] in relation to a recent decision relating to CDL's acquisition of land in Havelock North which was advised to the market on 21 July and which has settled.
"The applicant is seeking an order setting aside the decision of the Overseas Investment Office in respect of that approval and/or a declaration that ministers erred at law in making their decision to grant consent."
CDL Land executive director Jason Adams said this year they planned to provide much-needed housing on the development site and "we want to get works started as quickly as possible".