This week the Supreme Court has upheld the dying wish of a landowner that his land, native trees and open space on a 404 ha block of land near Tairua should be covenanted and protected from development permanently, and that this restriction applies to any new owner.
The land was sold to pay for rest home fees but not before the owner put in place a QEII covenant to ensure it couldn’t be developed.
Company Green Growth No 2 Limited bought the land and then challenged the validity of the covenant, which was originally registered on the Coromandel property in 1997.
QEII National Trust – which works with landowners to protect natural and cultural heritage sites on their land with covenants – said the decision was a huge victory.
Acting CEO Paul Kirby said it was a blow for developers who thought they could overturn QEII legal protection of the land.
“The Supreme Court has reinforced that QEII covenants protect natural spaces against the people who buy a property to divide and develop the land,” he said.
“We are proud to have lead the fight to protect the land against this kind of development.”
Kirby said Green Growth had tried to put short term economic gain above the long-term vision of the original landowner who wanted to protect the land, trees, biodiversity and open space for future generations.
“This decision makes it clear that our open space covenants protect open space forever.
“The protection against development stays over the land even when there is a change of ownership.”
Also, there is a message here for landowners who want to protect their land from mining activities. If you place a QEII covenant on your land, or part of your land, you cannot be forced by an arbitrator to enter into an access agreement to allow prospecting, exploration, or mining on that land. And, as this Supreme Court decision makes clear the covenant is permanent and applies to any new owner.