Awaroa Inlet beach is for sale in the Abel Tasman National Park at the top of the South Island. The slice of paradise is available for about $2 million.
You could look at it in one of three ways:
1. $2 million is a lot of money for several hundred thousand tonnes of white sand.
2. Wouldn’t it be great to own your own beach!
3. Um, why are we able to buy bits of a country when it really should all belong to all of us
House prices are super crazy in some parts of this country. A recent survey of cities in the world suggested that Auckland is one of the most expensive places to live on the face of the earth! Prices are so high that even people with good jobs can’t afford to even buy a small place to live.
So, what is this obsession with wanting to own somewhere?
But even if you think it’s fair enough to own or rent a small piece of land in a town or city with a house or apartment on it, I think there’s a huge difference between that (where there are loads of houses and in a place where thousands of people live) and trying to own a beach.
The coastal waters and beaches and mountains and rivers shouldn’t be able to be bought. These are entirely natural places, precious places, that have for hundreds or thousands of years fed and sustained people: fish from the sea, fresh water from the rivers, crops, plants, trees and animals from the land for food, shelter and clothing. The land is a gift to us to use – not something that can be bought or sold to make money.
Just because we now get our clothes from factories or food from large farms here or abroad, and can spend money on all sorts of things, that mustn’t change what we think or how we value our land.
If anyone is going to buy the beach, it should be the Government – using taxpayers’ money to get it back for the nation. If the Government did that, it would only work out to be about 50 cents per person.
Awaroa Inlet is a beach that – like the whole of this country – should belong to all of us, and not just to a person who can afford to write a cheque for $2 million.
Article written by Ben Egerton
This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry
amongst your students:
Critical Thinking Challenges:
1. Is it fair that parts of our country should be sold to anyone who can afford them?
2. If you had the money, would you pay $2 million for a beach? Why?
3. So, what is this obsession with wanting to own somewhere?
4. What might some of the problems be if all private ownership was ended, and all beaches, forests, paddocks, rivers and coasts were open to anyone who wanted to use them or live there?
5. Should we allow everything to go to the highest bidder?
A number of property and real estate companies have their own websites. Find some, and spend time looking at the different types of houses or land that are on the market. Perhaps set yourself a budget and a town or city you’d like to live in. What can you get for your money? Can you get more for your money in a different place?
Have Your Say:
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