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Waitakere City Council fines itself

14 March, 2007

Waitakere City Council fined over failure to acquire building consents

The Waitakere City Council did the right thing in prosecuting itself for not getting consents to move some houses, says the judge who heard the case in the Waitakere District Court.

Judge Paul Barber, fined the council $800 plus $130 court costs on each of six charges brought by the council against itself.

Building consent is necessary before a house can be demolished or removed from a property.

The council had bought six properties for removal for the Project Twin Streams project but the houses were removed without building consents.

In some cases it had applied for consents but not yet received them.

In the other cases it had not applied.

The judge said that the prosecution was appropriate and that the mitigating factor was that the council had "turned its mind" to the need for consents, by making it a term of the removal contracts that the contractors obtain the necessary consents.

However, the council had not applied sufficient supervision to ensure that the consents were actually obtained.

"We feel vindicated by this decision," says Councillor Vanessa Neeson, chair of the council's Planning and Regulatory Committee.

"We have been mocked for prosecuting ourselves but it is a very important principle of democracy, justice and common fairness that if we are prepared to prosecute ordinary citizens and contractors for such things, we must be seen to be prosecuting ourselves too. We are not above the law," she says.

Two contractors have yet to be sentenced for their removal of the houses without consent.


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