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Australian Investor’s Purchase of 5 New Zealand Holiday Parks Sparks Concerns Among Campers

An Australian investor is on the verge of acquiring the lease to five popular New Zealand holiday parks located in Glendhu Bay, Wānaka, Albert Town, Queenstown, and Arrowtown. 

The sale has campers and local tourism operators worried that the deal could threaten the “affordable Kiwi camp” tradition and lead to the loss of revenue from the tourism industry.

According to a local news report the buyer, whose name has not been disclosed, plans to extend their campground portfolio into New Zealand. 

The news has alarmed many regular Glendhu Bay campers who fear that the traditional Kiwi camping experience, including affordable prices and maintaining the local character of the campsites, could be lost under the new ownership.

The camping ground lease, which is currently owned by CCR Ltd, a company co-owned by two couples, was recently put up for sale.

All five campsites are covered under a $3.2 million lease agreement CCR Ltd signed with the landowner, the Queenstown Lakes District Council, back in 2014.

The original lease still had around 21 years to run, according to Mr. Rudi Sanders of CCR Ltd. 

He confirmed that the sale was all but confirmed and waiting for the Overseas Investment Commission’s approval, with a 99.9% chance of it happening.

While campers are concerned about the possible changes in the campsites’ affordability and operational style, Sanders reassured them that the new leaseholder would not make any alterations to the lease’s terms and conditions.

However, local campers fear that the new owners’ Australian background could mean changes to the local Kiwi-style camping experience. 

Peter Martin, who has been camping at Glendhu Bay for over 60 years, expressed shock at the news of the sale, adding that he had heard the new owners might increase the number of sites and fees during peak periods. 

He believes that foreign control over the campsites could jeopardize the Scaife family’s 1920s land donation, which made the campsites affordable for everyday Kiwis, by breaching the proviso that the land should remain a classic Kiwi park in perpetuity.

Meanwhile, Sanders claims that New Zealanders showed little interest in the lease’s sale and that a single lease over five campsites did not suit individual investors. 

Sanders explained that he and his wife declined one of the Australian investors because it was “very corporate, very business-like,” and did not align with the Kiwi-style camp values, “especially at Glendhu Bay.” 

The second Australian company, which is family-owned and shares the values and objectives of the Queenstown-Lakes camping culture, was the perfect match.

Although the council has limited control over who the lease is assigned to, the new leaseholder will still have to comply with the existing lease, the Reserves Act, and the district plan. 

The council has also assured that it will maintain oversight of the pricing structure to ensure that the campsites remain affordable for everyday Kiwis. 

Deputy mayor Quentin Smith has acknowledged the public’s concerns and pledged to protect the Kiwi camping experience and Glendhu Bay’s scenic appeal for future generations.

The proposed sale of the lease to five New Zealand holiday parks to an Australian investor has raised concerns among local campers about maintaining the affordability and traditional Kiwi-style camping experience. 

If the sale of the lease to the five holiday parks results in the loss of the traditional Kiwi camping experience, it could have a ripple effect on other campsites’ operations, including private ones.

Private campground owners and operators may also be concerned about the potential competition from the new leaseholder, especially if they decide to expand their portfolio in New Zealand. 

The new leaseholder will have to comply with the existing lease, and the council will continue to monitor the pricing structure to maintain affordability. 

While it remains to be seen how the new ownership will impact the campsites’ operations, the council is committed to protecting the Kiwi camping experience for generations to come.

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February 18, 2024 2:25 pm

The possible changes in ownership at the New Zealand holiday parks have raised questions about the impact on employment and the community, with considerations about potential job losses and alterations to the parks’ contributions to the regional economy. Stakeholders emphasize the importance of maintaining the distinctive cultural and environmental aspects of the parks to preserve the traditional Kiwi camping experience.

Kevin Ward
Kevin Ward
February 24, 2024 3:33 am
Reply to  matt_matters

Hey, I hear ya! Changes can invigorate things, but let’s remain hopeful. In the meantime, staying informed and engaging in constructive discussions could help voice our concerns and shape a positive outcome.

Sarah Moore
Sarah Moore
April 26, 2024 7:24 pm

How exciting is this news? Community meetings are lined up to chat about the Aussie investor’s impact on our fave NZ holiday parks. And guess what? A petition’s in the works to keep our camping vibes alive and affordable. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for our camping haven!


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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Australian Investor’s Purchase of 5 New Zealand Holiday Parks Sparks Concerns Among Campers! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/australia/australian-investors-purchase-of-5-new-zealand-holiday-parks-sparks-concerns-among-campers/