Gareth Morgan critical of crowd-sourced Abel Tasman beach campaign
A crowd-funding effort to buy a slice of pristine Abel Tasman coastline is unlikely to succeed while its organisers are broadcasting what their bid will be to competing buyers, Gareth Morgan says.
The Givealittle page is closing in on its $2 million target, in a campaign that closes on Monday afternoon.
They will then submit a tender for the Awaroa Inlet beach, by 4pm on Tuesday.
But philanthropist and economist Gareth Morgan said their chances were virtually nil while competing buyers knew exactly how much they are able to pay.
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Morgan has offered to put $1m towards buying the beach so long as he could enjoy part of it for his own private benefit.
"It doesn't matter now," he said.
"Anyone who is a serious bidder knows they have to treat $2m as the floor price. It doesn't actually matter what the crowd will raise, it just establishes that floor price.
"That's the point I've been trying to get across. It's naive in the extreme. I can't believe it. If there is another bidder, they are bound to be defeated."
He said the only way the crowd stood a chance was to take it out of the public tender process and establish a "buy now" price directly with the vendor.
BNZ action against the property's current owner, Michael Spackman, could help a bit, he said.
Spackman bought the private beach on Awaroa Inlet in 2008 for $1.92m, but recently put the seven hectare property on the market.
Spackman, an associate, and a number of companies the pair jointly own are being pursued for millions of dollars over alleged unpaid debts.
The Inland Revenue Department has also applied to liquidate another company the pair jointly own.
BNZ is seeking summary judgment against Spackman, Wellington lawyer Michael Robert Garnham, three companies the two jointly own and another company on which Garnham is a director.
The bank claims it is owed $6.2m in loans from the pair and the four companies, that expired or were called up in late 2014, High Court documents show.
They are due in court on Friday.
"The media could put pressure on them and say 'come on BNZ', why don't you accept the bid from the 'NZ public' rather than just the highest tender," Morgan said.
Duane Major, one of the organisers of the Givealittle page, said it had always seemed unlikely that the bid would be successful. "But so does raising $2 million."
People were starting to realise what could be achieved by working together, he said.
Major said he was not looking for a bargain price on the land, or resale value because it was not going to be sold again.
"It's a huge challenge, as the people of New Zealand, to take it off the market. But everyone giving their little bit is adding up."
He said he had been touched by the outpouring of support the campaign had received.
Major said, despite Morgan's comments, they knew how the tender process worked, and a skilled team behind the scenes was making sure a solid tender was put forward.
"I'm being advised by Chris Kennedy, the CEO of Harcourts, as well as Jeffrey Harley, an experienced lawyer in Wellington, all pro-bono.
"Over this weekend, we are pushing to get more public funding to make sure we can put together a really secure tender.
"I'm not an expert in these kind of things, but I'm doing what anyone else would do in this situation, consulting with my lawyer and a real estate agent, and with their advisement, I know we can do this thing."
BNZ has been approached for comment.
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