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Protecting our precious places

Durability of covenant agreements confirmed

21 January 2014

Media release

For the second time in less than 12 months the durability of QEII National Trust covenants has been confirmed by the High Court.

The first case was considered by the High Court earlier in 2014 when a landowner wanted to subdivide and build 20 houses on an area of covenanted indigenous forest land he had bought on the Coromandel Peninsula.  He challenged the legal status of the covenant agreement because it prevented him from developing the land.  

The High Court decision declared that the National Trust’s covenant agreements were ‘indefeasible’, meaning the covenant cannot be annulled. 

Not accepting the decision the landowner presented new evidence in a second attempt to get the covenant removed. The subsequent court case in December reconfirmed the protection status and permanency of covenants established by the Trust.

Trust CEO Mike Jebson says the decision has avoided large scale damage to the native bush block, had the development gone ahead.

“While it was unfortunate we had to pursue this case in the first place, a positive outcome for us has been that our legislation has undergone intense legal scrutiny in the High Court.

“The decisions confirm categorically that our covenant agreement secures permanent protection and cannot be annulled,” he says.

ENDS

More information

Media liaison: Anne McLean, 04 474 1689, amclean@openspace.org.nz

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