Ex-PM’s dirt-cheap section buy

Watched by Gibbston Valley Resort CEO Greg Hunt, Sir John Key, left, pours bubbles for his son...
Watched by Gibbston Valley Resort CEO Greg Hunt, Sir John Key, left, pours bubbles for his son Max after launching the construction of the nine-hole golf course in early 2022. PHOTO: ARCHIVE
Former Prime Minister Sir John Key paid a massively-discounted price for a section at Queenstown’s Gibbston Valley Resort - in return for promoting the 400-hectare development.

According to property records, his trust paid $400,000 in June 2021 for a section at The Reserve, by a planned nine-hole golf course.

Just two months earlier, someone paid $2 million - five times as much - for an adjacent section on Toms Creek Rd.

Ironically, Key earlier told Stuff he’d bought his section because it was good value for money. He also said, in a release: "This resort is going to be world-class, and much more sophisticated than anything that’s come before it."

Gibbston Valley Resort CEO Greg Hunt has no qualms about the former PM paying so much under the odds due to his promotional value as an ‘ambassador’ for the development.

"Having somebody like Sir John Key show confidence and have his name affiliated with it was absolutely good for the development, no question.

"I took it as a great compliment that he’d put his name [to] a development that was in its infancy.

"We hadn’t built anything, it was still all greenfields when he bought the section."

It was also during the uncertainty of the Covid era, Hunt adds.

He says he’s unaware whether Key’s got any plans to build on his land.

Meanwhile, Hunt confirms former Black Caps cricket captain Brendon McCullum, who’s currently coaching England’s Test team, has on-sold his resort section which he’d also bought for "a favourable price".

"But that doesn’t stop the fact he’s still an ambassador for us, as well."

McCullum originally bought in The Vines, but when that development was halted due to Covid-induced cost increases, he was instead offered a section in The Reserve.