174 noise complaints - just the sound of a big happy family
They are just a big and happy clan living in their family home, says the Auckland man who was fined $1500 after 174 noise complaints from his neighbours.
At a March 30 hearing Judge David Kirkpatrick ordered west Auckland man Bruce Palle to pay $1500 for failing to comply with a direction by Auckland Council noise officers to reduce the noise coming from his home.
The charge related to a single Excessive Noise Direction (END) notice issued on September 1 and breached on September 3, 2016.
The father-of-nine said he refused to attend the hearing because the court got his name wrong - he said it's Balle not Palle.
His family could be noisy - that's because there were at least a dozen people in his house at any time.
"I am not saying that we are not noisy. We are just a big family that has children, and they have children and partners. Of course we can be loud."
The Arran St resident said the frequent parties at his house were well-attended, and sometimes "half of Avondale" turned up.
There were also times when some of his children and their friends had one drink too many and decided to stay the night, he said.
The head of the "big Maori family" said quarrels only happened when random strangers tried to crash their parties.
Balle said his Avondale home was surrounded at close proximity by a number of houses, and he was not surprised neighbours thought the family was noisy.
Auckland Council officers had attended 174 noise complaints at the Arran St house, and its residents issued with 40 END notices between September 2013 and September 2016.
Neighbours complained of partying, brawling and the incessant "boom boom" of bass coming from the property.
At the hearing Judge Kirkpatrick noted the outcome from about three-quarters of the complaints found noise to not be excessive.
Balle said the family complied every time a noise complaint officer asked them to quieten down.
An END notice was only issued when an enforcement officer found excessive noise after a complaint.
If noise was found excessive a second time within 72-hours after an END notice was issued, the officer could return with police and seize music equipment.
Failure to comply with a single END notice could result in an infringement fee of $500.
Balle said he had lived on the street for at least eight years. In that time he claimed only one resident had ever approached him directly asking the family to quieten things down.
Neighbours preferred to go through council, he said.
Neighbours claimed they did not want to approach the family because they feared retribution.
One neighbour said he suspected a number of letterboxes on the street had been smashed by the "noisy residents" after a neighbour made a complaint.
Balle said his mailbox was regularly damaged as well and it was not his family who smashed them.
"We are on our third one."
He said he was disappointed the courts didn't correct his surname after he told them it wasn't right.
"It's just a respect thing. If they want to prosecute me, then they must get my name right."
If they had, Balle would have represented himself in court.
The court decision showed a summons to Balle to attend the first appearance hearing was issued on November 15, 2016.
It was served to his daughter on November 23, 2016.
Another summons for the March 30 hearing was issued on February 20 this year, it was also served to his daughter.
The Ministry of Justice said it was responsibility of the prosecuting agency to supply correct details.
Auckland Council refused to comment, citing privacy reasons.