Politicians and cats are "the only species not welcome" at a golf course north of Wellington, according to new owner businessman-turned-political leader Gareth Morgan and his wife Joanne.
In a statement just released, Morgan confirmed ownership of the Pauatahanui club on the coast between Porirua and Paekakariki, swinging at two pet hates, predicting more golf course sales and telling of big plans for the 28ha site.
"It gives me great pleasure to announce that Joanne and I have bought the course and are committed to keeping it as a golfing destination in the district," Morgan said.
"We very much look forward to welcoming all players to the course – politicians and cats being the only species not welcome," Morgan said, adding that he had paid $1.5m for the land and assets.
He had been a member "for about four or five years", but had been playing there since the 1970s.
He said it was "tongue in cheek" to refer to cats and politicians being banned.
"But politicians frustrate the hell out of me because they don't go for the best chances but the one that will keep them in power."
Wild cats were in the area but course neighbours ran active predator control programmes and Morgan vowed to add to those to enhance significant native bird life.
"I"ll build up the native bush and will get school camps in the bush, so it becomes a community asset rather than just straight golf," Morgan said.
"So many golf clubs are in financial difficulty, I suspect there'll be many more sales," predicted the man who founded the Opportunities Party to contest the 2017 general election.
"We intend to bring the course up to its full potential with fairways and greens that are the envy of Wellington's golfing fraternity. And we intend to ensure that access to this most tranquil of golfing destinations remains open to the public. It has always been a place to enjoy for those who like playing the game but don't want crowded fairways and officious club members stifling that pleasure. These values will be retained, and we will enhance the links to the local community via an enhanced programme of charity events," Morgan said.
"We look forward to welcoming all those who see golf as fun and at the same time like to relax," he said, adding that he very much enjoyed being at the course for its peace and tranquillity and he soon hopes to spot kereru which a neighbour has told him are regularly seen in the area.
The nine-hole Pauatahanui course was put up for tender in February with a rateable value of $1.39 million but the sale was extended until this month.
Advertising said: "This picturesque nine-hole country golf club, established in 1966 is positioned on 28.2816 hectares, enjoys well-maintained fairways and greens along with a traditional clubhouse located just a short drive from Wellington.