Wanaka Primary School. Photo from ODT files.
After failing to sell on the open market, the old Wanaka
Primary School is being offered to Ngai Tahu again because a
lack of market demand for development sites has caused the
value of the property to drop.
The school, in Tenby St, was originally offered to the tribe
as part of the standard disposal process for Crown-owned
property: transfer the property to another government
department or territorial local authority if required for
another public work; offer it back to the previous owner (or
benefiting successors); assess for any Treaty of Waitangi
claims; then sell it on the open market if the property
clears the first three steps.
Ngai Tahu turned down the offer, so the school was placed on
the open market, but failed to sell.
A Ministry of Education spokesman said the property was now
being offered back to Ngai Tahu because the Ngai Tahu Claims
Settlement Act 1998 did not allow the Crown to sell it on
more favourable terms than the original offer.
The spokesman said the school was marketed for general sale
twice, once by tender, with two tenders received, and once by
fixed price, with two offers received.
"On both occasions the outcome of due diligence exercises by
potential purchasers resulted in settlement not proceeding,"
the spokesman said.
The ministry had sought valuation advice on what a fair
market value would be for the property today, which revealed
the market demand for development sites had dropped since the
property was offered to Ngai Tahu.
"Therefore, as the value was below the benchmark price
previously offered to Ngai Tahu, the Crown has to re-offer
the property to Ngai Tahu at the revised valuation before the
property can be offered for sale on the open market again."
The ministry said in August the properties were on the open
market at $3.6 million plus GST for the main school block,
and $300,000 plus GST for the other smaller site. However,
the main block was subsequently reduced in price to $3.25
million plus GST, while the other remained $300,000 plus GST.
Last week, a ministry spokeswoman declined to provide a
detailed valuation of the school property, saying the matter
was "commercially sensitive".