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Source: Auckland Council

The Imperial Homes companies breached resource consent conditions for affordable housing, ensuring the properties should not cost more than 75 per cent of the Auckland region median house, which was $636,000 at the time. Instead at seven homes in Hobsonville Point, they added extra costs for things like driveways and landscaping.

In a written ruling the court has fined Imperial Norwest $30,000 and Imperial Garden $44,000. Both must pay court costs.

Auckland Council filed the charges and says the companies have also refunded nearly $400,000 to illegally charged landowners, on council’s request and separately to this action.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says he is pleased with the ruling. 

“The point of the affordable homes legislation is to bring more affordable housing into the market to help address our housing challenges,” he said.

“These companies have deliberately attempted to circumvent the rules and have admitted their guilt, so it is appropriate that this sentence has been handed down.”

Councillor Chris Darby has been involved with the issue since the start. “Auckland Council is dead serious about affordable housing. We will not allow developers to avoid contractual obligations and unfairly squeeze money out of unsuspecting first home buyers.”

“When first home buyers first approached me for support, I immediately had cause for suspicion and asked the council’s Regulatory Compliance and Legal teams to take a closer look. This judgement serves as a warning to unscrupulous developers: try that on and we’ll throw the book at you.”