Published 18 May 2012
Prominent Auckland barrister Barry Hart’s application for an injunction to stop sale of 965ha of his land at Waimauku was put into a court timetable yesterday, leaving the bank which put it up for mortgagee tender to continue with the sale.
Justice Warwick Gendall said in a brief Auckland High Court hearing yesterday the timetable would take the injunction application to a hearing as soon as possible after 7 June: “In the meantime there is no interim relief or orders.”
The tender through Bayleys closed on 3 May and counsel for ANZ National Bank Ltd, Laura O’Gorman, said the sale & purchase agreement had settlement dates, so having a definite hearing date would give more certainty for the transaction. However, counsel for Mr Hart, John Katz QC, said only conditional agreements had been entered into so the court timetable would be no impediment to the sale process.
Justice Gendall told Ms O’Gorman that, if there were settlement dates, “then just proceed. If there’s no interim injunction to prevent sale, then proceed. If you have as a consequence breached the rights of any of the plaintiffs, then damages would be the remedy. At the moment there’s no impediment on the defendant proceeding with the sale process.”
Notice of the mortgagee tender came in March as one of Mr Hart’s companies, BJ Hart Ltd, faced an application by software systems company Seashell Systems Ltd to wind it up. Mr Hart’s company settled that application but Inland Revenue entered the picture, substituting on the application last week. The IRD application has been adjourned to Wednesday 6 June.
The Hart land includes the 464ha Renall’s Farm that Cornerstone Group Ltd director Rick Martin wanted to turn into a rural estate with village clusters. Mr Hart successfully opposed the private plan change Mr Martin lodged in 2008 for the land next to Mr Hart’s holdings at the time, including the Woodhill Stud. The plan change would have incorporated Renall’s Farm within the area of the Waimauku structure plan, enabling development.
When Cornerstone assets were put on the market with the advent of the global financial crisis, Renall’s Farm was bought by Malory Corp Ltd (Sean Parsons, Takapuna, of chartered accountancy firm Hall & Parsons), which pursued Cornerstone’s appeal against Environment Court rejection of the plan change through to the High Court. However, in March 2011, Mr Parsons resigned from Malory Corp and Mr Hart became its sole director.
Mr Hart is a director of 43 Noble Street Ltd, BJH Taupo Ltd, Harent Ltd, Malory Corp Ltd, Noble Trustee Ltd, Serenella Holdings Ltd, Watkinson Holdings Ltd, Woodhill Farms Ltd, Woodhill Holdings Ltd & Woodhill Stud Ltd.
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Attribution: Court hearing, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.