South Port to defend Invercargill City Council suit seeking transferred land

The Invercargill City Council says an error was made in 1988.

South Port NZ, whose biggest shareholder is Southland Regional Council, says it will defend proceedings filed by Invercargill City Council seeking title to land transferred to the port when it was established in 1988.

The council is seeking legal title to three parcels of land at Bluff it says were transferred to South Port in error in 1988 when the port was set up under the Port Companies Act 1988, according to a statement from the port company. The proceedings also seek unspecified damages together with costs and interest, it said.

"The company has now received advice from its solicitors in relation to the proceedings," it said in the statement from chief executive Nigel Gear. "Based on that advice, the proceedings will be defended."

South Port said it had obtained a valuation for the current market value of the land at $1.28 million while the current rental, at less than $10,000 a year, "is not considered material."

The port of Bluff has operated since 1877. South Port was created in 1988, having taken over the assets and liabilities of the former Southland Harbour Board.

South Port shares last traded at $5.92 and have gained 3.2 percent in the past 12 months, lagging behind a 19 percent gain for the S&P/NZX 50 Index.