John Key praises beach buy-back bid

John Key praises beach buy-back bid

Prime Minister John Key is praising the crowd-funding bid to buy an Abel Tasman beach and is not ruling out a modest government contribution.

A Givealittle page set up to raise $2 million to buy the seven-hectare Awaroa Inlet property reached its target yesterday and has had massive publicity in the last week.

The organisers don't know how much the beach will sell for at a tender next Tuesday.

They're calling for more pledges but the total amount raised is being temporarily hidden until the tender for the beach is over.

Economist Gareth Morgan has criticised the project as being naive and has said the beach will sell for much more in a competitive process.

Mr Key said today that the "two guys involved have done a really good job".

He said a debate about whether the Crown should put some money in or not was "pretty evenly divided" and it was not possible for the Government to buy back every piece of land.

He said it was right that New Zealanders were pledging their own money and there was capacity for some contribution from the Crown via a nature fund.

If the tender is successful the beach will be gifted to the Department of Conservation or a suitable trust.

The vendor purchased the beach in 2008 for $1.92M and has been in court in an dispute with his bank about allegedly unpaid loans.

The beach is surrounded by an existing national park.