14 May 2015

Bay of Plenty iwi court bid fails

7:37 am on 14 May 2015

A Bay of Plenty tribe has failed in its attempt to get a court ruling against Crown entity Landcorp over the sale of farmland.

Ngāti Whakahemo took its fight to stop the sale of Whārere farms in Pukehina to the highest bidder to the Court of Appeal.

The iwi claimed Landcorp was misleading in the way it represented the tribe in sales talks last year.

The Court of Appeal has ruled Landcorp did not act in bad faith in deciding to sell the property.

It found the tribe did not have any enforceable legal rights for redress, and if it did, it was responsible for its own protection.

But the judgement mentioned that mistakes had been made in a High Court ruling, which was critical of advice that the Office of Treaty Settlements gave to Ngāti Whakahemo.

Landcorp is eager to go ahead with the sale of some farms in Pukehina.

Landcorp chief executive Steve Carden.

Landcorp chief executive Steve Carden. Photo: SUPPLIED

Chief executive Steven Carden said it welcomed the decision by the Court of Appeal.

He said it had been a long process for all the parties involved, and he hoped Landcorp could complete a settlement with the purchaser of the farms as soon as possible.

In the Court of Appeal's judgement, it detailed how Landcorp had been in talks with the highest bidder, Micro, for the farms.

It reported that Landcorp would not sell the farms for less than $19 million.

But it also detailed that the High Court judge was struck by the evidence that Landcorp told Ngāti Whakahemo the price to buy the farms was $23 million.

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