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NZ council sues self and wins

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A New Zealand council has taken itself to court and successfully been fined $4,800, the New Zealand Herald reports.

Waitakere City Council decided to take action "in the name of even-handed administration of regulations after it failed to get consents to move six houses". Specifically, it "brought the charges after learning it had contracted out and approved the removal of the homes from a flood plain - without ensuring that building consents had been obtained before removal".

Waitakere District Court duly fined the council and ordered it to pay $780 court costs. It will pay itself the fine, minus the court's 10 per cent cut. It has already stumped up $3,000 for pre-trial "outside legal opinion".

Quashing protests that the council had gone completely insane, Judge Paul Barber declared the prosecution was "properly brought". Councillor Vanessa Neeson chipped in with: "We feel vindicated by this decision."

Two removals firms who carried out the work - Fistonich and Craig Walker - also face fines for not having the proper consent. Nick Fistonich said: "We are quite happy the council only got a small fine. Hopefully our fines will be only small too."

Waitakere City Council said that "internal procedures had been reinforced to prevent further breaches". In future, it will presumably make sure it gets the appropriate consent from itself to avoid another appearance before the beak as both litigant and defendant. ®

Bootnote

The traditional Friday ta very much to Jake Rooney for spotting this piece of tomfoolery.

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