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Tuesday
Jan202015

George Kerr - New Chum!

The stakes have suddenly changed on the New Chum saga with the announcement that well known business litigant George Kerr is on the side of the Meares (Ross & Deidre) - see PR Release of 16 January. See also the actual Sub-division Amended Plan 

A close examination of the Amended Plan indicates beach access for the 4 lots through Lot 5 to the end of the Beach Conservation Lot. . There is no indication anywhere of the boat launching facilities that formed part of the original Darby application. Note the 40m x 18m parking - presumably boat parking area to the west of the Lot 4 house site.  

All in all the application appears to have sufficient ameliorating elements to ensure its passage, but the demand for a total ban on development will inevitably grow in time. The danger for our Council being to ensure that it is not sucked into any compensation deal that may result - Darby's indicative $20m figure has never left the table. It is no skin off the nose of course of all the putative greenies and 'rent-a-celebrity' types who will undoubtedly emerge from the woodwork.

The presence of "Torchlite" George brings in an entirely different element - he has never been known to back down in a court battle, and this Sub-division will surely end in court - probably the Court of Appeal, or even the Supreme Court given the determination of the parties involved. The Meares probably lack for no resources, but by announcing that Kerr stands with or behind them is a patently obvious warning to those who may oppose their plans that they had better have deep and capacious pockets.

George's most recent run-in with regulatory authorities took place only last week when Pyne Gould, the vehicle in which he is the majority shareholder was fined $50,000 by the NZ Markets Disciplinary Tribunal over the late release of its Annual Report that in addition had been 'tagged' by its Auditor - PwC.  It seems that George likes to be keep useful information to himself, and in this regard moved registration of the Company to Guernsey some time ago, much to the chagrin of smaller shareholders, of whom there are many - particularly old Canterbury rural families to whom PGG is synonymous with that provinces patriarchy.

George did not even attend the AGM - leaving it to well known chairman, and associate Brian Mogridge to face the music at the Auckland Mecure on 17 December. The shares of this once proud entity stand at 39c, having dropped 15% in the last 12 months. George would probably prefer to rid himself of troublesome minority holders, and treating them in this manner will probably achieve this objective sooner rather than later.

That morsel of background does not even come close to describing the litigation in which George has been involved over the years, and his involvement with a raft of finance entities with bewildering cross ownership and interlocked directorships. Sufficient simply to report that George is a leading player in the entire Christchurch corporate world, and anyone taking him on needs to be very wary of the cunning, experience and resources that he brings to the table. He is unlikely to be involved with the New Chum application for any other reason but to apply these elements in the forthcoming battle over the development. 

The Mayor continues to inject his preferences into the argument even before submissions have closed, He appears unaware of, or simply ignores the provisions of the LGA concerning conflict of interest. Why should he? - the provisions have proven to be totally toothless to date. 

 

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