Supreme Court issues victory for private land conservation
Friday 17 August 2018
The Supreme Court has delivered a historic decision to protect covenanted land against a land developer who bought the property with the intention of carving it up, developing on the beautiful and protected bush and then selling the land for profit.
QEII National Trust Acting CEO, Paul Kirby says “this is a victory for conservation on private land in New Zealand and a blow for those who think that they can overturn QEII legal protection of the land. The Supreme Court has reinforced that QEII covenants protect natural spaces against the people who buy a property to divide and develop the land. We are proud to have lead the fight to protect the land against this kind of development”
“Green Growth tried to put short term economic gain above the long-term vision of the original landowner who wanted to protect the land, trees, biodiversity and open space for future generations. This decision makes it clear that our open space covenants protect open space forever. The protection against development stays over the land even when there is a change of ownership. It is protected forever.”
Paul Kirby says “Green Growth bought this property with the intention of developing and selling it. They knew there was a covenant over the property which protected the land from that kind of destructive development and tried to get around the protection anyway. Today the Supreme Court has unequivocally stated that there are values beyond profit and development and that landowners who wanted to protect the land, trees, biodiversity and open space for future generations can do so with confidence in the strength of that protection.”
“Visionary property owners like the original owner in this case put aside precious land to be protected for future generations to enjoy. These protected pockets of land throughout the country are home to some of our most threatened plants and animals. They can provide a refuge against increasing biodiversity threats like kauri dieback,” says Kirby.
Green Growth No 2 Limited, the current owner of the land, challenged the validity of the covenant, which was originally registered on the Coromandel property in 1997. Green Growth previously appealed decisions to uphold the protection in both the High Court and Court of Appeal.
Paul Kirby says “it is a relief for us and for the 4,400 other land owners across New Zealand who have protected their land with QEII covenant, that the Supreme Court has stopped this property developer in their tracks and that the land remains protected for future generations to enjoy.”