Court-cases pest finds a new cause

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 09:00 07/12/2013

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Woodville vexatious litigant Jay Reid may seek permission to take legal action against the Tararua District Council over its proposal to lease reserves to farmers.

The council says Mr Reid is trying to use out-of-court avenues to continue his legal battles with the local authority.

The council is proposing to lease out two areas of reserve land for five years, with a right of renewal for another five years, for grazing.

The areas, on Gorge and Broomfield roads near Woodville, are a combined 29 hectares and have been advertised for lease.

Mr Reid has objected to the leasing of the land, arguing it would over-ride the recreational purpose of the reserves, and that the council was giving preferential treatment to nearby landowners.

He said his request for the land to be used for recreation was not considered by chief executive Blair King, and the council had a track record of illegal management of reserves.

He has also objected because of the lack of response from the council regarding a legal matter.

In his report to the tribunal and hearings committee, which will meet next week to consider the objection, council governance manager Richard Taylor referred to Mr Reid's past in light of the legal matter.

"Mr Reid had a frequent propensity to initiate provocative actions of a litigious and frivolous nature resulting in him being declared a vexatious litigant," Mr Taylor said.

"It appears he is endeavouring to use this hearing as a parallel forum to re-litigate matters.

"The matters raised by Mr Reid with regard to this subject are outside the scope and jurisdiction of the hearing, and the committee should not indulge him in their veracity through discussion."

The allegations of illegal management of reserves had also been the subject of legal action by Mr Reid, and should not be re-litigated in the hearing, Mr Taylor said.

Leasing the land was not illegal and there was no preferential treatment given to anyone, he said.

Mr Reid said the legal matters were relevant to his argument.

"The objection is not a continuation of the court cases.

"It is part of what you could call a campaign around recreational reserves."

If the council pushed on with its plan to lease the land, Mr Reid said he might attempt legal action.

Earlier this year, Mr Reid became the seventh person in New Zealand to be restricted from taking court action, having lost 54 of the 77 cases he has taken to court in nearly 30 years.

Most of those since 2004 have been against the Tararua District Council, which has spent more than $400,000 on associated legal fees.

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As Mr Reid has been declared vexatious, he would have to get permission from a High Court judge to bring any legal action against the council in relation to the lease of reserves.

If permission is denied, the decision cannot be appealed.

- Manawatu Standard

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