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Crowd-funding

Crowd-funding has raised $2m to help buy a private beach in the Abel Tasman National Park. More than 36,000 people and some businesses have pledged to give money for this property. They want this beach to be part of the National Park and open for everybody to enjoy. The property is 7ha in area. It is mostly forest but has a beautiful 800m white sand beach. It has three old buildings in the forest. There is no road. The private owner bought it in 2008 for $1.92m.

The Abel Tasman National Park in Nelson/Tasman province is one of the Great Walks and the most popular. It is 60km long and takes 3 to 5 days to walk the track. It is a walk along the coast and through forest. Walkers can carry a tent or book to stay in a hut but during the summer more than 250 people a day walk the track. In winter, there are only about 25 people a day. Walkers who want to walk a short distance can use a water taxi to drop them at one bay and pick them up at another.

National Parks belong to all New Zealanders. When two men saw that this little bit of private land in the park was for sale, they decided to see if they could use crowd-funding so that the land could become public. On January 22nd this year, they used the Givealittle website for ordinary people to pledge money, hoping to reach $2m. They said that the money would only be taken out of donors’ bank accounts if the target was reached. Yesterday, however, they reached their target but they are still accepting pledges of money until 3pm on Monday. Tenders for the property will close on Tuesday. If there is a higher offer, it is possible the government would help to buy the property.

Vocabulary

• crowd-funding – money from many (a crowd of) people
• pledge – promise to give the money if the target of $2m was reached.
• ha – hectares, 1 ha = 100m x 100m
• coast – land beside the sea
• donor – a person who gives a donation
• target – the total amount needed; in this case $2m
• tender – written offers from people wanting to buy the property; a deadline sale

Note: There are 9 Great Walks. They are popular tramping tracks through some of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand.

Question

The Department of Conservation – DOC – said they did not have enough money to buy this property. Do you think the government should have given DOC money to buy it or do you think Crowd-funding was a better idea?