New Chums/Wainuiototo land up for mortgagee sale after default on BNZ loan

Land at a Coromandel Peninsula beach voted one of the world’s most beautiful is up for mortgagee sale.

Colliers has an exclusive agency on the 30.7ha site at New Chums/Wainuiototo Bay – also called New Chum – after a default on a loan to a company owned by businessman George Kerr.

But the Environmental Defence Society’s Gary Taylor said today the land should be in public ownership.

Colliers’ agents Tony Allsop and Roger Seavill are advertising for tenders by November 23, unless the property is sold before that.

“The property has an approximate 1km-long eastern boundary adjoining the recreational reserve beside the foreshore. About 200m of this boundary offers frontage to the world-famous New Chum beach. The remaining part of the idyllic horseshoe-shaped bay is sheltered to the north by its rocky coastline,” the agents say.

Plans to develop houses there a decade ago were strongly opposed.

Colliers says the land is easy to steeper hill country facing east and overlooking the beach.

“There are several potential house sites on this block of land,” Colliers says.

Physical roading /access infrastructure is a metalled road suitable for vehicles exists via the neighbouring property to the south. The ability to utilise this access needs to be negotiated with the neighbour, the agents say.

The property is owned by Galt Nominees which is in receivership and whose director and sole shareholder is businessman Kerr.

The Bank of New Zealand has called for the mortgagee sale as part of a range of moves on Kerr-related companies.

Colliers say the land has natural beauty, being the “pristine curved perfection of fine white sand and azure water”.

The beach was featured in The Observers’ list of the world’s top 20 deserted beaches in 2006. It has been highly rated by Lonely Planet and National Geographic.

Taylor of the Environmental Defence Society said his entity was taking a close interest in the sale.

“The society is putting together a joint initiative hopefully supported by many local groups and mana whenua to get it into public ownership,” he said today.

Galt Nominees’ joint receiver Neale Jackson of Calibre Partners said in a six-monthly report this year that the company was formed in 1999.

Calibre was appointed receivers of income from the company’s property which is a “vacant section located at New Chums Beach, Coromandel. BNZ appointed us as receivers following defaults arising under the facilities it had made available to the company.”

He put no value on the property assets: “We have not disclosed the value of the property subject to receivership due to commercial sensitivity,” Jackson wrote in February.

The property was producing no income during receivership, Jackson said in a report.

When the development of the land was proposed more than a decade ago, the plans met a fierce backlash from thousands of beachgoers, among them TV host Phil Keoghan, rugby star Richard Kahui and actress Robyn Malcolm.

In 2010, the Herald reported how the Director-General of Conservation, the Historic Places Trust and then-Labour leader Phil Goff joined a chorus of opposition against rich-listers building houses on an untouched Coromandel beach.

The scheme back then was for 20 residential units has been put forward by developers John Darby and Kerr.

A spokesman for the developers said in 2010 they were talking to the Environmental Defence Society and looking at all options.

Goff then wanted the Government to buy the land.

“The bottom line has to be the preservation forever of the unspoilt and untouched nature of the beach. There is no place for development on, near or in sight of the beach,” he said at the time.

“The best guarantee of preserving New Chum is purchased by the Government and its inclusion in the conservation estate. I understand that the current private owners are prepared to negotiate and it is important that the Minister of Conservation acts as an advocate for her portfolio in this area,” Goff said in 2010.

In 2015, a new scheme emerged.

That was for a 60.7ha lot which Ross and Deidre Mear jointly owned with Kerr, and is separate from a development application made in 2014 by Coastal Land Trust Holdings.

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