Lee Tamahori loses apartment fight

IAN STEWARD
Last updated 12:20 20/02/2014
Once Were Warriors

Lee Tamahori's gritty 1994 classic Once Were Warriors was voted New Zealand's best movie of all time.

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Hollywood director Lee Tamahori is among a group of Auckland luxury apartment owners who have lost a fight with the proprietors of their building's penthouse.

The Shangri-La tower in Auckland's Herne Bay - one of two, prominent, cylindrical apartment blocks overlooking the harbour - was recently renovated for weather-tightness issues.

Apportioning costs for the work turned into a squabble between the two-storey penthouse owner and the 14 single-storey apartment owners below - one of whom is Lee Tamahori, the director of Once Were Warriors.

The 14 lower floors and the body corporate contended that all the costs should be divided according to a "utility basis" - proportional to the value of the apartments - meaning the penthouse would pay more.

The lower 14 floors have a rateable value in the $1.9 million to $2.2m range while the penthouse has a rateable value of $3.2m. The rateable values may be misleading, however - the penthouse sold in November 2013 for $4.75m.

The owners of the penthouse at the time the work was done, L V Holdings, proposed all 15 apartments should split 50 per cent of the costs equally and pay the other half on a proportional utility basis.

The High Court sided with the penthouse owner saying "they would still pay more but the differential would be less".

The lower floors contested the result in the Court of Appeal but in a decision released today, the higher court dismissed the appeal.

An appeal of compensation ordered for the penthouse owners because their apartment became inaccessible during the works period was also dismissed.

The High Court had ruled that the penthouse should receive compensation because the owners were unable to use their apartment for 18 months. No other apartment lost their apartment for more than six weeks.

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- Fairfax Media

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