4 Jan 2010

Maori landowners feel weight of debt

6:09 pm on 4 January 2010

Northland Maori landowners who subdivided their land at Matauri Bay are struggling to save it after a collapse in coastal land values.

The Matauri-X Incorporation refinanced a $6.5 million debt, and borrowed another $10 million from Strategic Finance to subdivide.

None of the leasehold sections have sold for 18 months and the debt has increased.

Kevin Gillespie, the manager appointed by the Maori Land Court, says Matauri -X is in default with Strategic, but says it is keen to work co-operatively on a solution and will not be holding a firesale.

Mr Gillespie says the sections would be more marketable if the leases were for 100 years, instead of 50, but the Maori Land Court will not allow that.