Queenstown Lakes district ratepayers have stumped up almost
$755,000 in legal costs in court battles concerning Frankton
Flats in the past four years alone.
The Otago Daily Times lodged an Official Information
Act request with the Queenstown Lakes District Council more
than a month ago for information about the costs to the
council of litigation associated with the Frankton Flats and
Arrowtown South plan changes.
The total cost of $754,848.11 revealed by the council this
week is made up of costs accumulated over four years,
resulting from appeals and judicial proceedings instigated by
The legal and expert witness costs for plan change 19
(Frankton Flats) as a result of nine appeals starting from
November 2009 is $510,369.65.
The costs incurred by the council over the Five Mile consent
since Shotover Park lodged judicial review proceedings and up
to withdrawal of that judicial review amount to $9727.27.
In the case of the Pak'n Save supermarket proposed by
Foodstuffs South Island Ltd for Frankton Flats, the consent
was first heard by council commissioners, then appealed to
the Environment Court. Council costs are from the lodgement
of Environment Court appeals and High Court costs.
The council spent $76,850.43 on the High Court appeal against
Foodstuffs. Witnesses cost $52,554 and legal costs amounted
In the case of Mitre 10 Mega, proposed by Cross Roads
Properties, a property subsidiary of department store chain
H&J Smith, the application was heard directly by the
The council spent a further $157,900.76 on a High Court
appeal against Cross Roads. Witnesses cost $17,848.12 and
legal costs amounted to $140,052.64.
The ODT asked the total cost, including legal costs to
the council over the proposed plan change 39 (Arrowtown
South) since the lodgement of appeals in January 2011.
The cost to the council was $15,235.01.
When the strategy committee was updated on progress with all
plan changes this week, Queenstown Lakes district councillor
Simon Stamers-Smith voiced exasperation over the cost to
ratepayers for court proceedings related to plan change 19
and proposed the council withdraw from court proceedings.
The council instigated plan change 19 with the aim of
rezoning rural general land within the Frankton area to
enable commercial, residential and industrial development.
Cr Stamers-Smith said plan change 19 litigation was ''an
argument between two commercial people and some sideliners,
which really doesn't concern us''.
However, council planning and development general manager
Marc Bretherton said it was appropriate the council be
involved as it was a plan change.
''There's still very much a role for council to promote what
we believe to be the best resource management outcomes,'' Mr
Cr Cath Gilmour said Frankton Flats ''is too much of an
important chunk of land for us to leave to developers to
''It should have the public's perspective as the major