Three Kings United Group Inc

This web page is of historical value covering the period 1995 to 2012

Three Kings United Group was formed in 1995 when it became known that Winstone Aggregates Ltd had applied for resource consent to take water from the Three Kings aquifer, allowing quarrying to continue a further 57 metres down to sea level. At the same time consent was sought by Auckland City Council to build a water pumping station on the quarry site so that the unwanted ground water could be reticulated to about 40,000 people in the Three Kings and Hillsborough areas.

Both resource consents were granted.

Our group campaigned effectively to bring to light major concerns about the consequences of these two resource consents.

satelite photo of quarry (76K)

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Three Kings Quarry to be Filled

But First  -  Rock Blasting Using Chemical Explosives

Recent Developments :-










March 2012

The Three Kings Quarry filling project starts on 1st April 2012.


Landscape Road is proposed as the main feeder route to the quarry.


Daily, hundreds of heavy trucks will use Landscape Road, then


turn right into a very congested Mt Eden Road.


Creating more noise, dust, diesel fumes and congestion.


A blight on a prime residential area.


The road safety, adverse health and community impact issues were not fully investigated at the Consent Hearing.









July 2011






Winstone Aggregates plan to start blasting at the Three Kings Quarry in July 2011 and continue the operation for 18 months to 2 years.  This is a precarious plan and unprecedented for an inner city quarry adjoining a large residential area,  because:-

    There is no buffer zone.  There should be a buffer zone of 300 metres to the nearest resident.

    There has been no pre-blasting building survey done.

    There is no "strict insurance liability cover".

    Pedestrians and traffic will be at risk from fly rock.

    Houses, buildings, sewers and roads are at risk from blasting vibration.

    Chemicals and explosive residues will pollute the aquifer.

    Residential property will be devalued.











This relates to the discharge of contaminants to air, land and water and to the controlled filling of the quarry.


This is seen as a move to protect the company against any potential litigation in the event of any future

damage to the environment from their filling project - shifting the goal posts once again.


The Application is before the Environment Court pending a hearing in early December 2010.


In the meantime the appeals against the first consent approval are on hold while the second application is



Three Kings United, South Epsom Planning Group, Ngai Tai Ki Tamaki, St. Lukes Enviro Group,

Envirowaste Services Ltd and Watercare have lodged their submissions in the Environment Court.

Here we have all the makings of a prolonged environment court battle.

Watch our postings.






Resource Consent Granted by the Auckland City Council   (ACC)

The ACC have also granted a Resource Consent for the refill of the quarry
but have not granted the request for a second access road into the quarry site.

Click here to read the ACC Commissioners Report (pdf file size 1.7MB)

Consents from both Councils were required.

Appeals to the Environment Court must be made within 15 working days.

Submission by Dianne Hill, President of 3KUG (pdf file)
Submission by Austen Bell, 3KUG (pdf file)
Submission by Wyn Hoadley QSO, Barrister for 3KUG (pdf file)
Submission by Wyn Hoadley QSO, on behalf of John and Mary-Ann White (pdf file)






Resource Consent Granted by the Auckland Regional Council  (ARC)

The ARC granted Winstone Aggregates Ltd a Resource Consent to carry out earthworks
and contaminated site discharges associated with the development of a cleanfill site
at Three Kings Quarry, Mt Eden Road, for a term of 20 years, on the 28th November 2009.


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Winstone Aggregates Ltd have been given resource consents to fill the quarry


The Downside of the Massive Project


1.      Alert.  Another prolonged quarry operation possibly taking up to 25 years.  More dust, noise and trucking and generating an unhealthy environment for the surrounding residents.

2.      Continued Dewatering of the Three Kings aquifer, affecting properties in Mt Eden, Epsom, Three Kings, Mt Roskill, Sandringham, Royal Oak and parts of Hillsborough.  Subsidence damage is already evident in subsidence zones.  The Earthquake Commission have confirmed there is no insurance cover for man-made subsidence damage; similarly the private insurance companies. Who accepts liability?  Winstone Aggregates Ltd, Auckland City Council or Auckland Regional Council?  As a ratepayer have you been notified by these Councils that your property is in a dewatering subsidence zone?  There are approximately 10,000 properties affected by the dewatering operation – the extraction pumps deep within the quarry have an existing consent to extract up to 7500 cubic metres of water per day.  This is intolerable and unacceptable.  The residents are entitled to real security for their property and peace of mind.

3.      Dust Pollution.  Quarry dust has been inflicted on the neighbourhood for some 80 years. The super-fine dust from the filling activities, trucking, dumping and bulldozing will cover a wide residential area.  This is an unwanted health hazard - a large proportion of the dust is in the “PM10” category which is inhalable super-fine mineral particles.

4.      Trucking Movements.  The proposed new entranceway to the quarry off Mt Eden Road, opposite the school and close to Grahame Breed Drive is unacceptable because it is dangerous.  Winstone Aggregates Ltd are planning for up to 800 truck movements per day at this location.  This will cause severe congestion to Mt Eden Road and mayhem at the intersection with Mt Albert Road.  Pedestrians, and particularly school children, will bear the increased risk from traffic accidents, plus the increased air pollution from up to 800 diesel truck movements per day.

5.      Vermin Invasion.  A common problem with most fill sites is the importation of a variety of vermin - from cockroaches to rats and mice – which are carted in amongst the rubble and fill from excavation and demolition sites.  Do we have to suffer this?

6.      Incompatible.  The filling and quarrying operations in the heart of a prime residential area are totally incompatible with our residential lifestyle and amenities.  There is no adequate buffer zone to mitigate the adverse environmental effects.

7.      Aquifer.  The Three Kings aquifer is highly vulnerable to contaminants. There is no pit liner/clay or plastic specified. Down-stream ecosystems will suffer disturbance. The Onehunga Springs water supply risks being downgraded.


InversionLayer (80K)

Inversion layer of pollution over the quarry pit

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Previous Developments  -  1995 to 2009 :-


The main concerns of local residents and the wider community have focused on;

1. The health problems caused by drinking the contaminated aquifer water.
After years of concerted effort we have managed to convince the City
Councillors, the Metrowater managers and the Medical Officer of Health that the quarry water is not suitable for drinking. Acknowledgement of our success came in the form of a front page article in the Central Leader of 9th March 2001;

·         "Astley springs a surprise" is the front page headline in the Central Leader. "After six years of battles, the plug may finally be pulled on plans to supply drinking water from Three Kings Quarry. The decision follows a surprise about-turn by Auckland City works committee chairman, Doug Astley, who unexpectedly sided with concerned residents at a meeting on Wednesday. Mr Astley recommended the Three Kings water supply not be connected, but be retained as a water supply for emergency use. It was passed seven votes in favour and only one against." "Mr Astley says the weight of public concern forced him to alter his stand." "After all the residents have been through" says Corinne McLaren, President of the Three Kings United Group, "we were not expecting him to stand up and say let's not connect the water." "Metrowater spokeswoman Sharon Buckland did not wish to comment at this stage."

·         Political history of the proposed water supply

·         Sewage overflow in the water catchment area

·         Stormwater outflow from the Plaza carparks

·         Tip-site cover-up

·         The top of the aquifer


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2. Land subsidence caused by dewatering the aquifer.

·         Subsidence Map - 2002

·         Map areas where the ground is continuing to sink 18 months after the dewatering was put "on hold" in November 2002. (large 700 KB file size)

·         Graphs of the subsidence at 30 selected sites (pdf file)

·         Building Damage Predictions

·         Photos of reported building damage

·         Quotes from the Test Reports

·         ARC Officers Report to the Review Hearing 21-25 July 2003

o        ARC's Summary of the 574 Public Submissions

o        ARC's Discussion of the Public Submissions

o        ARC Commissioners Report from the Public Hearing

o        ARC-proposed new Consent Permit following from the Public Hearing


·         Land Subsidence - What Went Wrong

o        March 1999: Winstone Aggregates started pumping the water out of the Three Kings Aquifer.

o        July 1999: First indications from the monitoring data (bore holes 11A and 15) that the subsidence predictions were inaccurate. Dewatering continues.

o        November 1999: Second indication of problems (bore hole 18A). Dewatering continues.

o        February 2000: Third indication of problems (bore hole 13B). Dewatering continues.

o        September 2001: Land subsidence exceeds the Resource Consent limit in Hillsborough Road (survey mark SM1979). Dewatering continues.

o        December 2001: Land subsidence exceeds the Resource Consent limit in the St Andrews Road / Mt Albert Road area (survey mark AP8A). Dewatering continues.

o        April 2002: Land subsidence exceeds the Resource Consent limit in the area around Shackleton Rd, Mt Eden Rd, Landscape Rd, Rewa Rd and Fulljames St. Also in the area around Rowan Rd and Mt Albert Rd. (data from 7 survey marks) Dewatering continues.

o        October 2002: Land subsidence exceeds the Resource Consent limit at 18 more survey sites in the following areas;

§         Three Kings Plaza

§         Duke St, Hamon Ave, McCulloch Ave

§         St Leonards Rd, Mt Eden Rd

§         Landscape Rd, Rewa Rd, Duke St, Mt Eden Rd

§         Quentin Ave, Gorrie Ave, St Andrews Rd, Rowan Rd

The Auckland Regional Council finally takes action and requests a temporary halt to the dewatering.

o        Quote from the ARC Commissioners Report (pages 11-12), 5 September 2003, regarding what went wrong:- "The expected outcome from the drawdown of groundwater presented at the original application by the applicant's technical experts has turned out to be seriously flawed, and the explanation offered by the consent holder's advisers, as to why this was the case is not convincing. Very simplistic assumptions were adopted at the time of the original hearing regarding the expected groundwater behaviour, and confident predictions made of negligible ground settlement away from the immediate vicinity of the quarry. This was despite the fact that the intended water table lowering of over 50m was very large, and could hardly help but have a very significant impact on the groundwater behaviour in the vicinity of the quarry. Unless very complete and accurate information was available on geological conditions, it seems unreasonable to assume that the material immediately adjacent to the volcanic crater would not be affected by the formation of the crater. It would also seem unreasonable to assume that there would be a complete absence of compressible materials in the zone likely to be affected by de-watering at the quarry. The compressible soils in the Hillsborough Road area are little more than 200m from the edge of the volcanic cone, and no allowance appears to have been made at the time for the possible presence of such deposits, or the likelihood that they would be affected by groundwater lowering."

o        The technical reports were 'seriously flawed' and the excuses are 'not convincing'.
This is a disaster that has been 10 years in the making and it has its basis in flawed reports from technical experts who made a series of unreasonable assumptions.


·         Land Subsidence - Events Since the Dewatering was put 'on hold' in November 2002

o        February 2003: Winstone Aggregates issue a report from Pattle Delamore Partners Ltd which recommends that “Active dewatering of the quarry should be reinstated quickly to allow a simpler model for transient calibration of the groundwater analysis.”

o        February 2003: Winstone Aggregates issue a report from Tonkin and Taylor Ltd requesting that the Auckland Regional Council accept far greater levels of subsidence than were approved in the Resource Consent. For Zone 2B there is no limit stated for the amount of subsidence.

o        March 2003: Earthtech Consulting Ltd present their report to the ARC. Earthtech's report is a peer review of the reports commissioned by Winstone Aggregates and is critical of several important aspects of the Winstone reports. Earthtech state that "Alternative settlement calculations show that with further dewatering, potential differential settlement may develop to levels that would start to cause building damage." Earthtech also state that they "are not convinced that there will be no adverse effect if dewatering continues to 60m depth."

o        April 2003: The ARC started a statutory review process which will be open for public comment and will look at the conditions of the dewatering consent. The Three Kings community waits to see if the ARC has the will to do anything about this subsidence problem before it gets seriously worse.

o        19 June 2003: The ARC have received 574 public submissions. 548 against the dewatering and 26 for continued dewatering.

o        July 2003: Pattle Delamore Partners Ltd issue a new report that recommends that dewatering be held at its current level.

o        21 to 25 July 2003: Public Hearings to review the conditions of the dewatering resource consent.

o        5 September 2003: The ARC Commissioners issue their "Determination on Consent Review". The salient points are:-

§         Hold the water level at its present level until 31 December 2004.

§         Dewatering may then continue in a strictly controlled way in a slow stepwise fashion, provided increased monitoring supports further dewatering.

§         Hold the water level at the level it is at if differential ground settlement reaches 1:2000.

§         Annual reviews.

§         6 new monitoring bores requested by Transit NZ, plus 4 other new bores.

§         5 Million dollar bond to be made available to the ARC to provide for compliance with the consent conditions.

§         New conditions are added for ground settlement monitoring.

§         New condition is added for making good any damage.

§         New condition is added for settlement limits.

§         New condition is added for protection of historic buildings.

§         New condition is added for the creation of an Assessment Panel to carry out inspections on potentially damaged structures.

§         The consent holder is required to cease taking water if differential settlement reaches 1:1000.

§         More ground monitoring points in the worst affected areas.

§         Detailed survey of all buildings in the areas of greatest risk, particulary zone IIA.

o        1 October 2003: Winstone Aggregates issue an appeal on the new resource consent conditions. Their key requests are:-

§         Speed up the dewatering process.

§         Add only the Transit NZ-requested new bores, but stall their installation for as long as possible.

§         No Bond while the dewatering is in progress.

§         No extra survey points in zones IIB, IIIA and IIIB. Stall the installation of the other new survey points as long as possible.

§         Delete the requirement to "make good any damage" because it is "inappropriate, unreasonable and unnecessary".

§         Invoke the stringent tests placed on the property holders that they must prove that the damage is of a structural nature and that their building was properly constructed in the first place. The burden of proof is placed on the property holders.

§         No building surveys.

§         Winstone Aggregates will not be liable for any adverse effects "authorised or contemplated by this consent". Note: Non-structural building damage is not prohibited by this consent; only structural damage is prohibited.

§         Establish an Audit Panel to remove the overall control from the ARC. The Audit Panel will be funded and maintained by Winstone Aggregates. It will have no legal status and bear no liability.

o        6 October 2003: Three Kings United Group issue an appeal on the new resource consent conditions. Our key requests are:-

§         Stop the dewatering.

§         Install all the new monitoring bores and ground survey points without delay.

§         Increase the Bond to 25 million dollars.

§         Agree with the ARC on all their new requirements which help to protect the interests of the property holders.

§         Detailed survey of all buildings in all zones affected by the dewatering.

§         Add a statutory definition of what constitutes 'structural' damage in Condition 10.

§         Terminate the Resource Consent when Condition 10 has been breached.

§         Make the damage assessment and claims process less stressful for the claimant.

o        12 November 2003: Transit NZ issue a 'section 274 notice' on the new resource consent conditions. Their key requests are:-

§         Conduct a baseline engineering study in zone IIIA, which encompases a section of the new state highway 20, as per the Three Kings United appeal.

§         Increase the amount of monitoring and surveying as per the Three Kings United appeal.

o        12 November 2003: Epsom Environmental Effects Society Inc issue a 'section 274 notice' on the new resource consent conditions. Their key requests are:-

§         Agree with the ARC on all their new requirements which help to protect the interests of the property holders.

§         Generally disagree with all of Winstone Aggregates requests because they are not in the interests of the property holders.

§         Delete the words in Condition 10 that were previously added, by a Winstone appeal to the Environment Court, because they place an unnecessary hurdle in the way of a property owner seeking recovery from Winstone.

§         Detailed survey of all buildings within the area of wider settlement affected by the dewatering.

§         The Bond shall be backed up by an irrevocable Deed issued by Winstone's parent company.

§         Make the damage assessment and claims process less stressful for the claimant.

§         The ARC shall appoint an independent expert to monitor and report on the Consent Holder's exercise of the consent.

§         The ARC shall report quarterly to the property owners in the area.

o        25 May 2004: First Mediation Hearing in the Environment Court, Auckland. No significant progress.


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3. The suitability of a quarry in a residential area.

·         Aerial view of Three Kings

·         Future aerial view - a hole down to sea level

·         Future pictorial view - a hole down to sea level

·         Cross-sectional diagram of the quarry.


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4. Act of Parliament - 1915 No 68 - Dated 12th October 1915.

·         Section 5 of the Act. Restrictions on quarrying operations on volcanic hills in the Auckland Provincial District.

·         Site Plan

·         Cross-Section A

·         Cross-Section B

·         Big King Protection Zone Infringement - Negligent quarrying operation


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5. Quarry Dust Survey.

·         Mineral composition of the rock dust from the Three Kings Quarry


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