Mystery shrouds revelations that at least a quarter of a million dollars has been given to a group that's launched two legal challenges over a development at Wellington's Shelly Bay.

No one seems to know where a lot of that money has come from, including the chair of the group known as Enterprise Miramar Peninsula Incorporated.

The Herald contacted the group's treasurer for clarification on the money's source but was told he does not have the authority to speak publicly.

The proposed development to give what's known as the jewel in Miramar Peninsula's crown a new lease on life includes about 300 homes, a boutique hotel and a large village green.

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But it's a plan that has been bogged down in legal battles led by Enterprise Miramar, first in the High Court and then in the Court of Appeal.

Financial statements show the organisation has been given significant donations to afford legal action.

A copy of those statements provided to Wellington City Council show Enterprise Miramar received $250,067 in "Shelly Bay Project Donations" for the year ended June 30, 2018.

Expenses show $221,798 was used on the Shelly Bay Development that financial year.

In a memorandum of understanding with Wellington City Council, Enterprise Miramar is called a Business Improvement District Association.

A BID is self-funded in that it collects a targeted rate, through the council, from property owners in a specific boundary. That money is then used to undertake programmes to promote and develop their local business economy.

The $250k in donations is a significant change on the organisation's financial books, which show its usual annual income is almost entirely paid from Wellington City Council targeted rates of $80,000 a year.

An artist's impression of the proposed development of Shelly Bay , viewed from the North car park. Photo / supplied.
An artist's impression of the proposed development of Shelly Bay , viewed from the North car park. Photo / supplied.

The donations are the latest revelation in the Shelly Bay saga, with city councillors this week being told to be careful with their words in case of further litigation.

This is after details of a scathing email from filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson were revealed last month outlining his position against the development.

Enterprise Miramar chair Thomas Wutzler said a lot of donations they received were confidential.

"I prefer not to be across it because I think it's important I'm not too close to what money comes and where it comes from.

"Sometimes people think if they donate a sum it gives them some sort of influence with us, I'd rather just not know."

People were continuing to give donations even though the court cases were finished, Wutzler said.

The period of the most recent financial statements available doesn't cover the Court of Appeal hearing over the development, which was held in August 2018.

Rongotai MP Paul Eagle says Enterprise Miramar would have to find money from somewhere to pay for legal costs. Photo / Bevan Conley.
Rongotai MP Paul Eagle says Enterprise Miramar would have to find money from somewhere to pay for legal costs. Photo / Bevan Conley.

Mayor Justin Lester said WCC helped established a number of BIDs around the city, so it supported groups like Enterprise Miramar.

"I'm not sure where the funding comes from, it doesn't come from the council, but it must be somebody with deep pockets."

Rongotai MP Paul Eagle said only the Enterprise Miramar Board would know where the donation money came from whether it was confidential, or anonymous.

"The legal action would have cost a lot so it's not surprising that they've had to receive funding from somewhere to pay for those legal bills."