Few answers for Bella Vista owners

Recently retired High Court Justice Paul Heath QC.

Home owners and residents caught up in the Bella Vista debacle received small comfort upon learning the terms of reference under which recently retired High court Justice Paul Heath QC will be looking into how residents of 21 homes have been evicted and their properties declared dangerous.

More than 50 people attended the meeting at the ASB Arena last night, which was held under heavy security.

People had to sign in and were given coloured tags to wear indicating whether they were home owners, interested public or media.

Paul opened the meeting explaining the terms of reference to the residents and property owners; saying he is hired by the Tauranga City Council to look into how the council conducted itself in relation to the Resource Management Act and the Building Act over consents issued to Bella Vista homes.

"What the council did or omitted to do, I’m concerned with what happened or how it happened,” says Paul.

Under the terms of reference he’s not concerned with why it happened. And it is not his job to decide if the Tauranga City Council has any responsibility to the owners of the 21 Bella Vista properties, or any other parties.

In particular he is to investigate the issuing of Code Compliance issued by Tauranga City Council to homes at 297 and 311 Lakes Boulevard and 2 and 4 Aneta Way.

To assist him the city council has provided a digital file and 38 ring binders of hard copy documents – which he has to absorb and report back to council on before the end of the month, with his final report due on June 1.

Resident Colin Mills asked if Paul is aware of ‘the affidavit’ purporting to be from a former city council staff member.

Colin says Paul’s report will be incomplete without an investigation into the allegations.

Paul says he has seen it and read it. He’s also seen the other geotechnical reports.

Another of the claims surrounding the declaration of the 21 Bella Vista homes as dangerous is the contention that the council is relying on only one geotechnical report – and that there are other conflicting geotechnical reports.

Paul says he’s seen four geotechnical reports. 

His reply to Colin is that the terms of reference do not permit a broader investigation.

He has no power to summon witnesses or to cross examine them. If he was able to ask why events happened, the report to council will not be available for another three to six months.

“Because there is so much information that would have to be gone through,” says Paul.

“I recognise and understand there are those wider concerns, I will be taking those into account.”

Any home owners, residents or other parties who have any information for the inquiry can be sent to an email address at

He also agreed to accept photos and documents from developer Danny Cancian who says he has all the building consent documentation that Danny claims is missing from city council files.

More on SunLive...
You must be logged in to make a comment. Login Now

Public Liability Insurance?

Posted on 11-05-2018 13:50 | By Maryfaith

Surely the council must have public liability insurance ??? Ratepayers should not have to shoulder the burden for this stuff up!


Posted on 10-05-2018 16:21 | By maildrop

The Serious Fraud Office are aware of this. But according to them, and I have this in writing, they are awaiting this report! So, the land deal, the inspectors deal, the Bella Vista liquidation, all of which is outside the remit of this investigation, and all of which has a bad smell, will not be investigated. Cop outs all round. Said it at the start, say it again - complete whitewash.

Police involvement should be sought by the homeowners.

Posted on 10-05-2018 15:05 | By Maryfaith

So - in effect, the judge has been employed by the council - using ratepayers money, to let them off the hook. And he says - quote "terms of reference do not permit a broader investigation." I bet they don’t! The police should be called in - surely criminal charges can be laid thus making a full investigation possible. If I was a homeowner I would lay an ’appropriate’ charge against the council - police would have no option but to initiate an investigation.


Posted on 10-05-2018 11:02 | By CathyOhno

I trust all practioners providing geotechnical reports, designs and peer review for council and developer were Cat 1 geoprofessionals as prescribed by the council’s own infrastructure development code....

@ Noel Silver

Posted on 10-05-2018 08:45 | By BennyBenson

My thoughts exactly. TCC is too fond of wasting money on reports that achieve nothing. Would be cheaper for rate payers and better for those homeowners concerned to just get the work required done as soon as possible and fart around later figuring out who’s fault it was that the development turned into such a train wreck.


Posted on 09-05-2018 17:13 | By penguin

This exercise has the hallmarks of a Shakespearean farce...

Lack of Responsibility by TCC

Posted on 09-05-2018 16:37 | By Noel Silver

Well isn’t this a surprise- NOT. TCC judges Terms of Reference that say it is not in his brief to be concerned as to why this happened, and, not to decide whether the TCC has any responsibility to the owners. This does not read well and indicates that there is no outcome on the horizon for these poor house owners. In my Opinion, TCC should stop wasting the Ratepayers money on reports etc, and get a reputable building contractor to supply a price to fix the defects, install the retaining walls etc to that all houses have a Code of Compliance Certificate and can be lived in. Once complete then sort out the financial mess, and use the Legal System to recover all costs from negligent parties .

Judicial integrity

Posted on 09-05-2018 13:59 | By davidt5

Why would a learned judge accept a brief which is so restrictive in scope that his report will be of little help to any of the victims? Clearly the TCC is hoping that he can muddy the waters sufficiently that the staff involved will not have to admit to any responsibilty to any part of the deplorable events which have taken place. The current position relating to the integrity of these homes could well drive many of the innocent victims in to bankruptcy. Tauranga citizens are currently saddled with many incompetent and immoral staff at all levels of the organisation. I have no faith that our elected representatives will be of any help in resolving this situation. Just let the ratepayers pick up an undeserved set of buy-back payments. Just as well the ratepayers have unlimited monies to squander.


Posted on 09-05-2018 12:32 | By Merlin

Really documentation missing from the Council files and the terms of reference are so tight?


Posted on 09-05-2018 10:59 | By The Sage

So it is not his job to state why this happened. Well I would have to thenk that this is where the Serious Fraud Squad would step in.

The Judge is driving train that can ONLY go where the tracks take him

Posted on 09-05-2018 10:03 | By Murray.Guy

The Judge is driving a train supplied by the CEO, Mayor and Councillors, on tracks (no deviation) with only TCC staff as passengers giving instruction and advice, with a fixed arrival time, a few short weeks away. Affected parties (evicted and victimized property owners) are denied any opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the Judge’s appointment, scope of investigation, input. Certainly not allowed ’on the train’. The Judge has next to no discretion.