A Little Bit of Justice

As I write this post I am acutely aware of my bias. My view of New Zealand’s justice system is totally skewed by the fact that people with deep pockets were able to drag my better half through the court system for more than 7 long years until he had a debilitating stroke from the stress at only 49 years old and was forced to declare himself bankrupt. Being right didn’t matter at the end of the day as it came down to who could last the longest.

It is from this very prejudiced worldview that I read the latest article about the legal battle over a Kauri tree. A tree that was only a few decades old according to some and four hundred years old to others.

Two Aucklanders who took a group of developers to court in an attempt to save a centuries-old kauri tree have been ordered to pay $30,000 in court fees.
The Environment Court last month decided Alexander Maehl and Winifred Mary Charlesworth, from Titirangi in West Auckland, had to contribute towards John Robert Lenihan, Jane Helen Greensmith and Anthony Gore’s costs for the case.
Residents of Paturoa Rd, in Auckland’s Titirangi, have been fighting to save the tree, which was named Awhiawhi by the local iwi.

I wonder if the environmental fanatics spared even one thought for the hell they were putting John, Jane and Anthony through. Unable to build their houses they instead spent years paying legal bills. They had done nothing illegal and were completely in the right as they had council approval but being right meant nothing when faced with environmental fanatics.

[…] They originally sought $44,514, but Environment Court Judge Jeff Smith said that was not warranted as there were elements of the issue that were of public interest.
Judge Smith said $30,000 was a “reasonable response” to the costs incurred by the trust.

Oh, how I hate the old “public interest” line. The New Zealand media and Nicky Hager justified what they did to us as being in the public interest. The information they had obtained was stolen and included private and personal communications but even though it revealed zero wrongdoing (no one had broken any law) they decided it was in the “Public interest” to publish what had been written between friends with an expectation of privacy.

The environmental activists lost the legal battle but they have still managed to financially hurt the developers who did nothing wrong. Even though they won they lost. They lost the years wasted fighting to build on their own land and they lost because as commonly happens, winners rarely if ever, get awarded full legal costs.

As for the Green fanatics, apart from being upset that there was any kind of financial consequence for their actions, they will be fine. They are going to fundraise so that other people can foot the bill for them. In the end, they got lots of publicity and have managed to put the fear of God into any developers wanting to build in Titirangi. Mission accomplished.