The New Zealand Herald

Vogel heirs fight for family home

Court to decide fate of former residence of Prime Ministers

- Melissa Nightingal­e

Abattle over historic Vogel House has reached the High Court. The grandsons of the former owners would suffer emotional hardship if it was not given to them instead of being sold on the public market, lawyer Richard Fowler told the High Court at Wellington yesterday.

The property, which was the Prime Minister’s official residence from 1977 until 1990, was donated to the Crown by James and Jocelyn Vogel in 1965 and is held under the Land Act 1948, meaning the Commission­er of Crown Lands must dispose of the land in accordance with the act.

In early 2016, the commission­er decided to offer the property to the beneficiar­ies of the Jocelyn Vogel estate — the Vogel Charitable Trust and the Wellington SPCA.

At the same time, the commission­er notified two grandsons of the Vogels that they would not be offered the property. The grandsons, Tim and Geoff Vogel, had previously asked for the entire property to be given to them.

The Vogels applied for a rehearing and an independen­t lawyer was tasked to report on the case.

It was decided neither the grandsons nor the charities should have the house, but that it should be sold on the market, with the proceeds going to the Crown.

The grandsons have now taken the matter to court for a judicial review, which was heard yesterday.

Fowler argued there had not been considerat­ion of the emotional hardship the Vogels would suffer if the house was not offered to them.

Reading from Tim Vogel’s affidavit, Fowler spoke of the family connection to the house, family associatio­ns in the area stretching back 150 years, and the fact that no other private family had ever lived there.

In his affidavit, Tim Vogel also said his grandmothe­r had “often remarked she wished the Crown would return the property to the family because it was no longer being used as the PM’s residence”.

The Land Act states the property can be allotted to someone without competitio­n from the public if there were special circumstan­ces and the applicant would suffer hardship by the call for public applicatio­ns.

Fowler said this did not just include financial hardship, but could also mean emotional hardship.

The judge has reserved his decision. Thor: Ragnarok

 ??  ?? Taika Waititi on the set of with actors Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor).
Taika Waititi on the set of with actors Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor).

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