A wealthy Auckland couple is seeking permission to take more helicopter flights to or from their home in New Zealand's most expensive suburb.
Businessman, marina investor and developer Simon Herbert and wife Paula Herbert want to double the number of flights at their Herne Bay property from two flights a week to four a week.
A little further around Auckland's Waitemata Harbour, ex-All Black Ali Williams and toy billionaire Anna Mowbray are planning a helicopter landing and take-off pad at Westmere.
The couple paid $24m for the almost half-hectare headland site, previously owned by film director Andrew Adamson, and plan to demolish the 12-year-old house and replace it with a three-level home with a subterranean basement.
They applied last year for a helicopter pad, but Auckland Council is seeking more information about ecological, acoustic and general issues before reaching a decision on whether to grant the application.
The Herberts paid just under $30m in 2018 for their modernist Brent Hulena concrete house on the headland at the end of Cremorne St - New Zealand's most expensive street with its mega-mansions worth an average $13m each.
The 2810sq m site has its own boat shed, pool overlooking the waterfront, beachfront access and an existing helicopter pad.
At the time of the sale, Simon Herbert told the Herald it was "one of only a few properties in Auckland with consent to land a helicopter which was on our wishlist, as it will allow us to fly direct to our house in the Bay of Islands".
The council website said limited public notification to change the number of consented helicopter flights from two flights a week to four with no more than two flights on any one day opens on Thursday this week.
The Herberts, through their planner Craig Shearer, sought to have the application approved without public notification, but this was rejected last December by senior council planner Patrick Moss, who said doubling the number of flights would create adverse effects to residents at four nearby properties.
Originally, the Herberts applied to change the conditions of the 2015 resource consent from no more than one flight per day and two flights a week to allow for three flights on any one day and 104 flights in a year. In May last year, they amended the application back to two flights a day and 104 flights in a year.
In a letter from Shearer to council planners, he said an assessment by Hegley Acoustic Consultants found the noise exposure to residents using a quieter AirBus H130T2 helicopter for more flights would be less than permitted in the current consent and "thus considered to be reasonable".
Richlister Rod Duke faced strong public opposition when he tried to build a James Bond-style helipad with a roof that folds back on a revamped boat shed at Sentinel Beach in Herne Bay.
Last October, Duke told the Herald the boat shed had been completed with a fixed roof. He has yet to decide whether to pursue the helipad.
Herne Bay Residents Association co-chair Don Mathieson said the Herbert helipad is at the top of a cliff directly above a public beach. Sunbathers lie on the cliff and climb around it in summer, he said.
"There have been unintended consequences from two other heliports in Herne Bay, including seaspray and clothes being blown around during lands. These effects were not considered when the consents were granted," he said.
He said the limited public notification to neighbours should have included public users of the beach.
Mathieson said the Herberts' application has changed from 11 flights per day to two flights since the variation was first sought in 2000, possibly to appease neighbours.
The Herald is seeking comment from the Herberts and Shearer.