Northland contractor Jimmy Daisley had been allowed by the High Court to sell the Whangārei District Council’s Forum North HQ to recover a $6.1 million court-ordered debt to him. Daisley has now dropped the charging order he was granted ahead of a council appeal over the costs decision. Photo / Michael Cunningham
The Whangārei District Council will have its appeal against a High Court judgement judgment ordering it to pay a contractor more than $6 million heard in Wellington in October.
In June 2022, the council was ordered to pay Whangārei contractor Jimmy Daisley $6.1m for a situation he described as “17 years of hell”.
Daisley won two High Court judgements against the council over a wrongly-filed resource consent that the council used to pursue him over his quarry, which led to his 17-year battle for justice. The court also granted his request for a sale order on the 2.387 hectares of land that the Forum North sits on in Rust Ave to pay the multimillion-dollar debt the council owes him.
The appeal is due to be heard on October 11 and 12 by the Court of Appeal. Daisley has dropped the charging order issued over the Forum North site ahead of the appeal.
Daisley operated a quarry on a property in Knight Rd, Ruatangata, after buying it from the previous owner in December 2004.
The property had been used for quarrying for several decades, and the quarry operations had not been challenged, disputed or prohibited at any time. Daisley had big plans, intending to not only extract metal for use in his contracting business, Daisley Contracting, but also to sell quarried minerals to local farmers and other contractors.
However, the council issued an abatement notice, directing the quarrying operation to cease in February 2005, only seven weeks after he bought the property. The notice said he needed to get resource consent for quarrying at the property. The council threatened enforcement action if he did not.
The council said the reasons for the abatement notice included the assertion that the removal of material at the property was neither expressly allowed by a resource consent nor an existing use right. Daisley has been fighting to challenge the decision and get the council to admit it was wrong to close him down.
His fight – which he admits nearly broke him and caused major financial and other problems – saw a High Court judge in June 2022 award him $4,279,622, plus interest and costs, after the court found the council liable in negligence over not being able to find the consent, despite it being on council records. Then in July 2022, in scathing comments from the High Court, Justice Kit Toogood described a separate peg of the council’s defence in the case as the result of a “deeply-flawed analysis”.
He then ordered the council to pay Daisley increased legal costs of $510,000 because of its flawed defence in the case, with the total payout ordered at $6.1m.
Toogood ruled that the council was “guilty of misfeasance in public office through recklessly misinforming Daisley and others about the existence of the consent and in failing to take steps to make amends after the consent was found”.
Daisley confirmed he had dropped the Forum North charging order, but would not comment further before the appeal, saying only he wanted to thank all the people and groups that had supported him through his long battle with the council.