Peter Thiel’s luxury lodge in remote New Zealand is delayed
Council planners have suggested that billionaire Peter Thiel’s plans for an expensive lodge in a remote corner of New Zealand be denied due to “unacceptable” environmental impacts.
Peter Thiel‘s proposed development is in Wanaka, near Queenstown, a remote alpine region of the South Island noted for its natural beauty.
Thiel’s company, Second Star Ltd, filed a permit application for a sprawling lodge on his property, complete with a “pod” for Thiel, water features, and meditation zones.
This included “several stand-alone structures, including a lodge for visitor lodging for up to 24 guests, an owner’s accommodation pod, accompanying lodge management buildings and infrastructure”, as well as “landscape treatment, water features, and meditation Its construction would need 73,700m2 of earthworks.
In a roughly 1,000-page analysis, senior planner Sarah Gathercole advises that the council reject the proposal’s environmental and cultural impacts.
Its “negative impacts on landscape quality and character, visual amenity, design and density of development, cumulative effects and earthworks” are unacceptable, says Gathercole.
She added the proposed lodge is “far larger than expected”.
The idea will have some good impacts, but not enough to fully balance or compensate for the negative consequences.
Thiel, a Trump supporter and billionaire co-founder of PayPal, has sparked controversy in New Zealand.
In 2017, it was discovered that he had been granted New Zealand citizenship after only 12 days.
The government waived the requirement for Thiel because of his business and charity endeavors.
Peter Thiel was part of a group of wealthy investors hoping to buy remote New Zealand properties as safe havens from societal or environmental collapse.
When the lodge drawings were presented for responses in late 2021, he faced pushback from New Zealand environmental organizations and citizens.
According to resident John Sutton, the resort will “destroy our wonderful lake environment”.
That the site was “wholly within and surrounded by outstanding natural landscape… the landscape of national importance” and that “the development is likely to cause significant adverse physical changes to the natural landscape when viewed from public places in the vicinity” were reasons for opposition.
This would produce high-end lodging and will bring economic advantages across the district and beyond, Second Star claims in its plan.