For those of you have never been subjected to a Public Works Act land acquisition, be thankful. Assurances of good faith bargaining don’t always eventuate.

Below is my letter to Hon Maurice Williamson of 17th April 2013

“Dear Sir,
I am writing re my property at 313 Te Atatu Rd.

On 20th September 2011 notices were sent out by Auckland Transport (AT) informing us parts of our properties in Te Atatu Rd were required for road widening. I immediately saw this would cause access problems for my garage and rang to advise accordingly.

On 5th November we were provided with some vague timelines.

On 14th February 2012 (5 months after initial notice) the Project Engineer visited my site (without a tape measure) and proceeded to illustrate how a skilful driver would be able to manoeuvre a Mini out of my garage and enter the main road in a forward position without any change to my garage.

On 14th September 2012, Alan Roberts, valuer appointed by Auckland Council Properties Limited (ACPL) rang me and arranged to ring back in three weeks.

On 5th October I received an offer for the land required from my property without having heard back from the valuer. I rang him and was told he had been instructed by Linda Holdaway of ACPL to do a roadside inspection.

On 8th October I asked him to retract a statement in his report claiming I had denied him internal access.

On 9th October I put 6 specific questions to Linda Holdaway regarding the matter. She had claimed Mr Roberts’ statement was not a misrepresentation of the facts but rather a “summary of the facts.”

On 10th October I lodged a complaint with the Valuers Registration Board.

On 11th October Linda Holdaway asked if they could have their valuer do an internal inspection of the property. I agreed but said in view of past events I would require any new appointments to be confirmed in writing.

On 15th October Linda Holdaway advised me of three possible viewing times.

On 16th October I submitted them to my tenants.

On 17th October my tenants advised me 10am Friday 19th October was acceptable. I sent an email to Linda Holdaway advising her of that.

On 18th October, having had no confirmation from Linda by 5 pm I cancelled the appointment and advised my tenants accordingly. I also sent an email to Linda advising of the cancellation.

On 19th October, shortly before 10 am Alan Roberts rang me and said Linda had had trouble with her computer. I told him the appointment had been cancelled.

On 8th November, despite all that had gone on, and her refusal to answer my questions, Linda Holdaway asked me to arrange an internal inspection with a new valuer.

On 12th November I advised her I would resume communication once my six questions were answered.

On 21st February 2013 Jack Burton, Community Advocate appointed by Henderson-Massey Local Board, paid for by AT, visited me and asked what was needed to progress matters. I told him answers to my six questions. He has since visited on 3 further occasions and when I asked him what the response had been from AT, he said they had told him they were “working on it.”

On 27th March I received an email from Linda Holdaway containing a veiled threat “We are being requested to serve notice pursuant to Section 18 of the Public Works Act 1981 to formally invite you to sell the required land to Auckland Council.” I asked who issued such an instruction but she would only say AT.

On 4th April I sent an email to David Warburton CEO, AT and Lester Levy Board Chairman, AT asking who had issued the instruction.

On 5th April I received an email from Owena Schuster, AT saying no one person made the request to ACPL, it was a “corporate decision.” She told me they intend to serve notices in “two to three weeks”.

On 7th April I sent an email to David Rankin CEO, ACPL asking
1. Does ACPL have statutory authority to issue such notices?
2. Were you aware the major delays in my negotiation process have not been of my making?

On 16th April at 1.50 pm I rang Mr Rankin’s EA to ask when I would get a reply. She said Mr Rankin had other priorities and she did not know.

Throughout this process I have found the bureaucrats dismissive of our concerns yet demanding and threatening when they want something. Many other property owners whose properties are under acquisition share my concerns.
1. Does ACPL have statutory authority to issue Section 18 notices?
2. Do you consider the process followed to date illustrates “good faith bargaining?”
Yours sincerely,
Gary Osborne”

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