There’s a court case in New Zealand involving competition and Westfield (normally not spoken in the same breath) that could hold a lot of importance for Sydney Airport and its ambitions to expand its retail and leisure businesses.

Time and again in Australia Westfield has done its best to crush competition from smaller groups, especially discount centres.

The latest is in New Zealand in the Auckland area as this story explains. This case has some rather strong similarities with the Orange Grove discount outlet down Liverpool way in Sydney’s south west, that Westfield opposed and eventually drove out of business.

Mall-owner Westfield NZ returns to the High Court at Auckland today to challenge the right of Josephine Grierson’s $15 million Fox Outlet Centre to operate.

The long-running dispute between the Australian shopping giant – which has 11 malls here – and two New Zealand entities is over the legality of Fox’s planning approval, which allowed the 4000sq m factory outlet centre to open on November 13 last year.

Westfield is taking the case against the North Shore City Council and Fox owner Discount Brands, a joint venture between Auckland property investor Dominion Funds and Grierson, an Auckland economist.

The case involves a challenge to planning consent which allowed Fox to open.

Also in Sydney Westfield failed in an attempt to close the DFO centre in Homebush, only several kilometres from its expanded Burwood Centre.

But it did stop another centre opening up in Burwood through the use of phoney residents groups which were financed and run by Westfield. Similar tactics were used at South Granville in Sydney against a proposal by Woolworths to set up a 40 shop centre based on a small Big W and a Woolies Supermarket.

Westfield though lost a case to try and stop Brisbane Airport Corporation developing a retail/leisure complex at Brisbane Airport as this Crikey report explains.

Sydney Airport Corporation is thinking of expanding its retail and leisure space. Brisbane Airport gives them the lead. Will the Macquarie-based operation get into bed with Lowy or find someone else?

Doing a deal with Westfield will be hard as the latter has the huge Hurstville Mall only several kilometres from the airport and could face legal action against it from tenants if it goes into Sydney Airport and weakens the centre’s business.

If Sydney Airport gets into bed with another operator will Westfield take on Macquarie Bank?