25 Jun 2019

Judith Collins in court for settlement conference on Nelson property

4:21 pm on 25 June 2019

National MP Judith Collins and the parties involved in a legal battle around her Nelson property have now settled the case.

The cottage owned by Judith Collins and her husband in the Haven Road precinct.

The cottage owned by Judith Collins and her husband in the Haven Road precinct. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Ms Collins and her husband, David Wong Tung, are trustees of a superannuation scheme which is seeking legal remedy over damage caused eight years ago to their Nelson rental property in Haven Road, Nelson.

They were seeking costs of an estimated $110,000 to fix their property and compensation for lost rent of almost $68,000.

It was among several properties damaged throughout Nelson and Tasman when a severe storm struck the region in late 2011.

Holly Superannuation lodged a statement of claim in late 2017 against the Nelson City Council, and the owners of the property above their Haven Road cottage.

The plaintiffs' claim for damages was filed in December 2017.

RNZ has asked Ms Collins why it took six years to lodge it - but has not yet received a response.

Ms Collins and Mr Wong Tung arrived at the Nelson courthouse this morning for a settlement conference.

It will either direct a settlement or the process will head to the High Court.

Judith Collins at the Select Committee hearings.

Judith Collins. Photo: RNZ

Ms Collins did not respond to questions when she walked into court today, but the parties later confirmed that a settlement has been reached.

A neighbour of the Nelson cottage said it was historically significant to the region.

Nelson businessman Robin Whalley has offered in recent years to buy the cottage, which he said was built before the 1850s, and was in need of restoration.

He owned the properties either side, and has restored several cottages on the Haven Road precinct.

The Haven Road cottage (left) for which damages are sought.

The Haven Road cottage (left) for which damages are sought. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

"From what I can work out, they're some of the earliest cottages not only in Nelson, but in New Zealand."

Mr Whalley said the cottage appeared to be historically important also to Ms Collins.

"I did a little bit of research and it seemed to me that it was her family that originally owned the property, and the street across the road is Collins Street."

Collins Street was built after the 19th Century on the reclamation opposite, and which was now home to Port Nelson.