4 Feb 2009

Decision reserved in supermarket battle

8:24 pm on 4 February 2009

A High Court judge has reserved his decision in the long-running battle between New Zealand's two major supermarket chains over a new supermarket on Auckland's North Shore.

Progressive Enterprises is appealing a decision by the Environment Court last year to allow Foodstuffs to open a Pak 'n Save on Wairau Road.

Foodstuffs has been trying to the store on the site for about 18 years. The store was built in 2005 and the building remains unused because of subsequent court rulings.

Lawyers for Progressive on Wednesday told Justice Venning that the Environment Court had not given proper consideration to the District Plan.

They quoted traffic reports which forecast a 20% increase of traffic on what is reported to be an already saturated network.

Lawyers for Foodstuffs say congestion problems were only anticipated at peak hours and had already been considered by the court.

Justice Venning reserved his decision, saying he hopes to deliver his judgement within two to three weeks.

The hearing began a day after the Government outlined its plans for reforming Resource Management Act.

Environment Minister Nick Smith has singled out 'supermarket wars' as one of the drivers behind the changes, saying the act is being used to delay competitors' projects.