The developer of a subdivision in Rotorua where three houses are now sinking has said he is suing the engineers who assured him the land was stable.
Geoff Kenny is the man behind the Oakland subdivision, in Ngongotaha.
The subsiding houses have sparked a legal battle between the angry home-owners and Rotorua District Council, which signed off the paper-work to allow construction to go ahead.
Now Kenny - a former councillor - has stepped into the row, saying his dream has been ruined.
"I wanted to be proud of this place, I wanted beautiful sections that Kiwi families could enjoy," he told Close Up.
"Sure I wanted to make money, but my true dream was to drive past here one day and see nice houses built and say, 'man I did that'."
The residents whose houses were built on the unstable ground hold no hard feelings towards Kenny, despite their homes starting to sink and break apart.
Instead they are united in their recriminations against the council which approved the land for building on.
"Yes, it was swampy and I knew that," Kenny said.
"Council said it checked all our engineering designs, they checked all the figures and that we had done things right. And as it turns out they did very little in our opinion."
Kenny is now suing his engineering consultants, and in turn Rotorua District Council is suing him.
"I'm fighting my own battle with the engineering consultants but that's my battle, I'm a commercial operator, I'm a big boy, I can deal with that," he said.
"But these guys (the residents) that haven't got a house they can sell - I had to sell mine to fund the bills - but they haven't got one to sell because they are worth nothing.
"It's very embarrassing. It's certainly the worst thing I have gone through in business, absolutely."
Oakland resident, Grant Collins, said the issue "could be fixed easily if they (the council) would man up and do the honourable thing".
Kenny said Rotorua District Council chief executive Peter Guerin should "front up".
"Council really has a duty to protect these homeowners when firms like mine get it wrong," he said.
But Guerin has seemingly decided to leave the issue in the hands of the courts.
In a recent newsletter to council staff, he describes the situation as a "trial by television" and "media generated hysteria".
"If your only exposure to this particular issue has been the series of misguided stories on TV ONE's Close Up, or from other equally inaccurate reports, then it won't be entirely surprising if you think the council are the bad guys in this matter," the newsletter states.
"But the facts simply don't back up any of the accusations and finger-pointing that have been aimed in our direction."
Rotorua councillor Charles Sturt - who is backing the residents in their battle - said the newsletter constitutes "an emphatic denial that the council has any wrong doing".
Kenny said a settlement would help reduce the stigma on the subdivision.
"If I could I would write them a cheque now," he said.
"I'm fighting my own battles, but I want to make an undertaking that once I've won my battle, if they haven't settled, I will be taking up the case on their behalf," he said.
"(That's an) absolute promise."