Auckland Council wants Penny Bright case dropped

  • 30/09/2015
Auckland Council wants Penny Bright case dropped

Auckland Council says a defamation case brought against it by a ratepayer who owes nearly $40,000 is a non-starter and wants it dropped by a court.

Kingsland resident Penny Bright has since 2007 refused to pay rates to the council - saying she wanted to know where her money was being spent - and has now built up a bill of $38,372.

In late 2014, she begun legal proceedings against council chief executive Stephen Town following a press release in which he said she had made "wild accusations" about the council.

The New Zealand Herald has reported the council has spent nearly $100,000 fighting the defamation case to date, with the final bill possibly to be higher.

In a statement released today, the council said a hearing had been set for November 5 in which it would ask the court to drop the defamation case altogether.

"Ms Bright's offer to settle the defamation case with an apology and a payment to her of $10,000 was unacceptable from our perspective," council general finance manager Kevin Ramsay said.

"We believe the views expressed about Ms Bright were fair and accurate, and we completely reject the accusations she has made."

The council was still seeking to recover the owed rates from Ms Bright and would seek costs over the defamation case.

Ms Bright is seeking $350,000 from the council over Mr Town's statement.