Darby, Kerr in Coromandel beach fight


Queenstown millionaires John Darby and George Kerr have stirred up a sand storm over a pristine Coromandel beach.

The Jack’s Point duo want to put in a 21-lot subdivision at New Chums Beach.

A consent application by their Coastal Land Trust Holdings has attracted almost 1000 submissions, almost all opposed.

One of those submissions is from Labour leader Phil Goff, who appeared on TVNZ’s Close Up last week.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that New Chums Beach is probably the most beautiful, untouched, unspoilt beach in New Zealand and probably the world,” Goff said.

“This is the one last accessible beach that has been left untouched [in the Coromandel]. Let’s leave it that way for our kids.”

In 2006, London’s Observer newspaper rated New Chums as one of the world’s Top 20 beaches, calling it “a wide swathe of pale sand backed by wooded hills”.

TVNZ also reported plaudits from Lonely Planet and National Geographic.

New Chums is accessible only by boat or a 40-minute walk through clusters of pohutukawa trees and other native fauna. A lagoon must also be waded.

From 10,000 text messages to Close Up, TVNZ reported 9200 wanted special protection for beaches like this.

Darby chose not to comment to TVNZ.