Five camping grounds in Queenstown and Wanaka have received Overseas Investment Office approval to transfer the leases to its new Australian owners, Hampshire Property Group chief executive Frank Sharkey has confirmed.
In a statement released last week Mr Sharkey said he was pleased to confirm the acquisition of the five leasehold camping and holiday parks and that existing staff had agreed to continue working for the new owners.
Hampshire Property Group is based in New South Wales. The purchase price has not been disclosed.
Hampshire has acquired Queenstown, Arrowtown, Wanaka, Glendhu Bay and Albert Town camps from CCR Limited, a company owned by Queenstown couple Erna and the late Tonnie Spijkerbosch, and Rudi and Aggie Sanders, of Wanaka.
All five camps were covered by a single $3.2 million lease agreement CCR Ltd reached in 2014 with the landowner, the Queenstown Lakes District Council.
The original lease has about 21 years to run.
Hampshire is a privately owned Australian family business that is also expanding its portfolio of caravan parks and residential land lease parks across Australia.
When news of the negotiations broke in April, many people told the Otago Daily Times they feared they would lose their beloved New Zealand style of camping to a corporate operator and that fees would go up.
Long term Glendhu camper Peter Martin of Dunedin said he and others were worried the size of the ground would reduce, while tourism revenue generated within New Zealand would disappear overseas.
Glendhu campers were also concerned an offshore owner would not honour the intention of the Scaife family’s gift of land in the 1920s to create an affordable camping ground for New Zealanders.
‘‘Day-to-day operations will largely remain the same, with all staff agreeing to continue in their positions,’’ Mr Sharkey said.
‘‘We anticipate that the change of ownership will be a smooth process.’’
Glendhu and Albert Town would continue to cater for New Zealand campers, Mr Sharkey said.
Mr Sharkey said the company understood there had been a great deal of public interest in the transfers.
It would be ‘‘business as usual’’, with ‘‘a small number of improvements’’.
The Queenstown camp would be refurbished and, subject to council approval, environmentally sustainable cabin-style accommodation would be built at the Wanaka and Arrowtown camping grounds.
Wanaka and Arrowtown camping grounds would continue to offer an accommodation mix, including powered sites for caravans and tents.