School site to be disposed of

Katrina Casey
Katrina Casey
Whether the former site of Queenstown's high school will remain in public hands is uncertain, as the disposal process gets under way.

Wakatipu High School's former home in central Queenstown has been empty since the school moved to a new campus at Remarkables Park at the start of the year.

The site is owned by the Ministry of Education, which decided it was surplus to requirements.

Land Information NZ (LINZ) Crown property manager John Hook confirmed the site had been put up for disposal.

That triggered a multi-tiered process, with the first step being to determine if the land was needed for any other public works.

At the moment, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) was considering it, Mr Hook said.

If MBIE was not keen, the next step was to determine if the land needed to be offered back to the person the Crown originally bought it off, or their successors.

If that did not go ahead, the land could be offered to Maori under a Treaty settlement or land banking, or, finally, be put up for sale on the open market.

Ngai Tahu has first right of refusal on the site.

Ngai Tahu did not respond to a request for comment.

The news came as the Ministry of Education continued work to source land for a proposed new primary school in the area.

A spokeswoman said the Ministry was ''still in the early stages of acquiring a new school site in Wakatipu''.

She declined to say what areas were being looked at.

This comes nearly 18 months after the Ministry confirmed it was looking for a new site.

In February 2017, deputy secretary for sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said: ''We don't comment on potential sites while we are in the process of identifying and acquiring them, as this information is commercially sensitive.''

-By Daisy Hudson

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