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Cullen Welcomes Talks On Young Nick’s Head

28 June 2002

Finance Minister Michael Cullen today welcomed the agreement by the vendor and the potential purchaser of the Young Nick’s Head Station to extend their offer for six weeks to allow negotiations with the local iwi.

Because of the sensitivity attached to the site, the Overseas Investment Commission has referred the application to Dr Cullen and Associate Finance Minister Paul Swain for decision.

Dr Cullen said the government was likely to impose conditions on any sale. These were:
- a commitment to restore the property through erosion control and by fencing off sensitive environmental areas
- a guarantee that the public will have continued access to sites of historic and archaeological interest
- the establishment of a joint trust with Ngai Tamanuhiri to preserve and promote the historic and spiritual values associated with the property.

“I am optimistic that the talks can succeed, provided there is good faith on both sides, as the applicant has already indicated a willingness to address all these issues,” Dr Cullen said.

The current owner is a New Zealander now living in Australia. The person wanting to buy it is New York financier, John Griffin, who is offering around $3.2 million for the land and plans to spend around another $1 million upgrading it and building a private residence on it.

Dr Cullen said the local iwi had been closely consulted on the process. The OIC was already in dialogue with them when it received the formal sale application on 2 April and invited them to send in a submission on the sale which they did on 16 April. Information received by the Commission indicated that Mr Griffin had also been in discussions with Ngai Tamanuhiri since February.

He said that, if the sale was approved, the public could be assured that any conditions attached to it would be honoured as the Commission was responsible under the Overseas Investment Act for monitoring approvals after consent had been granted and for reporting any breaches to the Ministers.

Dr Cullen will have no further comment on this issue until the negotiations between the parties are completed and a final decision has been taken.

Ends

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