View of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, taken from the platform next to the Skyline Restaurant. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
A group of investors, mainly Singaporeans, won a years-long battle over a property investment in South Island, after New Zealand’s top court ruled that they could get back their NZ$8 million (S$7.8 million) deposits, which includes interest, reported The Straits Times.
The investors, who also included Thais and Malaysians, will also recover NZ$800,000 in legal costs, revealed counsel Phil Creagh, who represent a large group.
This comes after the court upheld the investors’ right to back out of the three-stage project on the shores of Lake Wakatipu near Queenstown, which stalled during the first stage when its developer went bankrupt.
Between 2006 and 2010, the investors inked contracts to acquire luxury apartments that were part of the first stage of the development. Dubbed Kawarau Falls Station, the three-stage project involved an integrated lakeside resort development, featuring over a dozen hotels as well as serviced apartment complexes.
Halfway through the construction of the blocks, however, the global financial crisis occurred.
With this, developer Peninsula transferred the stage-one assets to Melview (Kawarau Falls Station) Investments in 2007. But since the latter was placed in receivership in 2009, ownership of the assets was then passed to its subsidiary, Kawarau Village Holdings.
Upon completion of the apartments, the sellers demanded payment from the buyers, who refused.
In ruling for the buyers, NZ Chief Justice Sian Elias said the completion of the whole project was an essential term in the contract.
“Because the (seller) had put it out of its power to complete the development at the time it called for settlement, the purchasers of the apartments in the first stage were not obliged to settle the purchases,” explained Dame Elias.
This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.