NZTA fails in bid for court costs

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2013

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The High Court has refused the New Zealand Transport Agency's application for more than $11,000 in costs after two community groups lost appeals against consent for construction of the Kapiti Expressway.

Save Kapiti and the Alliance for a Sustainable Kapiti lost their appeals in August, and Justice David Gendall reserved costs. He indicated that, if lawyers could not agree between themselves on the issue of costs, the matter could come before the court.

No agreement was reached, and NZTA sought $11,542 as the successful party.

Save Kapiti said a pragmatic outcome would be one in which each appellant met one half of any costs award. But the alliance said it was a small group that did not have the money.

Justice Gendall refused to award costs, saying they were to lie where they fell.

"This is a situation where both Save Kapiti and the alliance, although unsuccessful, were genuine in bringing their appeals and had a legitimate public law challenge on issues of general importance for the community and the region.

"There seems to be no suggestion that the appeals were brought for personal gain of any type . . . the appellants were two community groups, with the alliance in particular suggesting it has entirely limited financial means," he said in his ruling.

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- The Dominion Post

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