By notice dated 13 June 1996 the council gave notice to the Hattons of its intention to take parts of their land at Taupo Bay for road development. The council proposed to seal the road from State Highway 10 to the existing sealed section.
The Hattons objected, contending inter alia, that the taking of the land was to further a private rather than a public interest, and that the council had failed to meet the statutory responsibility to negotiate in good faith to acquire the land. They also stated that inadequate consideration had been given to alternative routes or other methods of achieving its stated objective.
The court dismissed the objections, holding that the area of land to be taken for the road was not for private but for public interest, as the road was used and was intended to be used by the public generally, and was not confined to use by owners of land at the Taupo Bay settlement.
It also emphasized that to define the land to be taken leaving strips of it under the Hattons’ ownership and control would diminish the public purpose of the road for the private benefit of the Hattons. Moreover it held that allowing adjacent properties frontages was a proper exercise of the council’s power.
There was no award of costs as, on the one hand the Hattons lodged their objection to protect their interest on receiving the council’s notice, and on the other hand, it was inappropriate to order the council to pay costs as the objection failed.