The owners of waterfront land compulsorily acquired for a port that was never built in Te Atatu, Auckland, have lost an appeal to be able to buy it back.
From 1949 the Auckland Harbour Board acquired more than 75ha of farmland for a port in the upper Waitemata Harbour. It was never built and now there are houses and a park on the land with a value of up to $70 million.
Seven owners and their descendants asked the Court of Appeal to declare Auckland Council had to offer the land back to them at 1980s prices.
They argued this was because by the early 1980s the land was no longer going to be used for a port or any other public work.
The court dismissed the appeal and a cross appeal.
It said the descendants had waited too long before bringing their claim and the council had developed the land into housing and a public park.
The descendants were also not particularly attached to the land.
Under agreements they had made with a company that funded and ran the case, they would not keep the land.