Christchurch City Council is $166,000 out of pocket because of what staff are calling a processing error.
The money represents the fees it was owed by developer Global Developments Limited.
The error came about when the developer was issued a code of compliance before it had paid the money it owed the council.
Six days later it was put into voluntary liquidation, leaving the council with no option but to write off the debt.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the same thing should not happen again as changes have been introduced requiring developers to pay their fees before they are issued with a code of compliance.
She said councillors were awaiting a full report on the matter.