Napier pool judicial review to go ahead after settlement offer withdrawn

7:45 pm on 3 September 2019

Napier City Councillors say they are open to a settlement, after the group that called for a review of the $41 million Napier pool upgrade pulled their offer yesterday.

Artists rendering of the proposed pool in Napier.

An artists' rendering of the proposed pool in Napier. Photo: Supplied

The Friends of Onekawa Aquatic Centre Society is going ahead with its judicial review in the High Court of the council's consultation over a $41 million project to upgrade Napier's pool.

The group had withdrawn its offer yesterday to settle out of court, citing frustration and lack of communication from the council.

An interim injunction from the High Court in July halted the development until a High Court hearing in Wellington, which is set for 30 September.

At a meeting this afternoon, councillors agreed to instruct their lawyers to prepare for the case but added that they were open to "reopening settlement discussions".

"That said, the door remains open to continue discussions with the Friends of Onekawa if they choose," acting mayor Faye White said.

Councillor Annette Brosnan said she was in two minds about the legal proceedings.

"I don't want to spend ratepayers' money against ratepayers," she said.

"If it's [the judicial review] in favour, it confirms we are doing the right process ... and conversely if it shows we have not then it highlights a culture issue."

She said it should be a decision for the new council.

Councillor Maxine Boag wanted to see if Friends of Onekawa Aquatic Centre Society would still be prepared to negotiate with them before the 30 September High Court hearing.

"We will as a council have another look at this to see if there is a pathway. We do appreciate your efforts to resolve this without the continuation of a very expensive court case," she told Society members at the meeting.

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