Appointed liquidator Brenton Hunt revealed creditors were unlikely to see any money back from defunct building company Rose Built Homes. Photo: Matt Brown.

Rose Built Homes used as ‘cash cow’

The bungling former owners of a defunct building firm may face criminal charges for fraud.

Rose Built Homes, which folded in September, has left Marlborough businesses out of pocket to the tune of $1.6 million.

Appointed liquidator Brenton Hunt revealed creditors were unlikely to see any money back, branding the case “one of the worst” he has seen in 25-years.

Treating the company as a “personal cash cow” could see former directors Ryan Butler and Kyle Payne in court, he says.

And the former directors have turned on each other, with Kyle blaming some of their dodgy dealings on his colleagues “gambling problems”.

The revelation comes amid rumours that Kyle has fled the country.

Brenton says he can’t stop Kyle from leaving the country.

“I can’t stop him travelling until I actually have judgement against him, and even then, a border alert would require details of his actual flight,” he says.

“Regardless…he can still be bankrupted here in New Zealand.”

Local contractors and businesses have been left high and dry, with one secured creditor owed more than $500,000.

Investigations uncovered a raft of costly personal purchases bought using company funds.

Boats, motorcycles and cars bought on finance were being paid from company accounts but registered to the young company directors.

But Brenton says he doubts any money will be paid out to any class of creditor.

“There were very few assets to be collected. Some office equipment and limited tools were collected from the office.

“The majority of these were returned to Christchurch and sold by Mainland Auctions, limited amount were sold to interested parties in Blenheim.”

“A number of creditors have raised jet skis as another asset, but I have never managed to locate any,” he says.

In addition, Kyle Payne traded a company asset, a Ford Mustang, on an Audi he recorded as his personally.

“The Audi still has a significant amount of finance over and above the trade-in value.”

Tax payments are “well behind” with no annual accounts ever produced.

Brenton says Kyle tried to blame the lack of tax payments on the company’s accountant, however, it is the director’s responsibility to file returns.

PAYE had not been paid since December 2018.

Kyle, in an interview with the liquidator, says he was not aware that non-payment of PAYE was a criminal offence.

“A huge amount of personal expenditure was coded in the company records as business expenditure and GST attempted to be claimed,” Brenton says.

“I have been working in insolvency for ten years, and as an accountant for over twenty-five years.

“Rarely have I seen company records in such a bad state.

“It has been very hard to work out anything form the records kept so I have had to go back to bank transactions.

GST had not been filed since March 2019 or paid since May 2018.

Brenton says Kyle had appeared to have committed “several items” of fraud and a creditor has offered to assist in filing a criminal complaint to police for fraud.

“Insurance records have been altered to allow customers to make drawdowns, customers have been asked to pay into bank accounts which are not company bank accounts and various customers and creditors have been lied to repeatedly,” he says.

“After recoding a lot of the expenditure which Kyle Payne had recorded as business expenditure but was paid to his own bank accounts, I have made a demand for $335,739.

“I have had no response to this demand so are now commencing judgement against him for this debt.”

Kyle sold his house, on Howick Rd, in September.

Brenton says Ryan was cooperative during the liquidation.

“He is apologetic for where everything has ended up and claims he never knew just how bad everything was.

“Regardless of his regrets he was a director and personally guaranteed several of the debts.”

Brenton says Ryan is looking into bankruptcy.

“As there has been very limited recovery from the company, I am funding a lot of the continued work for the liquidation myself.

He says the only asset of the company is the money which the directors had withdrawn in various ways.

“The likelihood of recovery of this for creditors is fairly remote so it is not anticipated any distribution for any class of creditor will happen.

“Regardless of this I will continue with my action against the director and see what comes out of it.”

Renwick Roadhouse Café and Bar owners Kristine and David Hudson say losing carparks on the main road through Renwick could sink their business. Photo: Matt Brown.

Battle lines drawn over parking plans

Angry Renwick business owners fear they could be left counting the cost of plans to replace parking spots with planter boxes.

A Marlborough District Council initiative to put concrete planter boxes on Renwick’s main street has local businesses up in arms.

At a charged meeting between several Renwick business owners and council staff on Wednesday, business leaders voiced fierce opposition to the idea.

The meeting followed a flyer drop by council staff detailing the plans to local businesses, but owners say they feel “ambushed”.

Initial plans saw the busy thoroughfare losing more about 14 car parks, but a revised option was presented to the nine Renwick business owners at the meeting, at the Renwick Roadhouse Café, where about four parks would be removed.

Renwick Roadhouse Café and Bar owners Kristine and David Hudson say losing a single 10-minute carpark from the street could cost their business upward of $20,000 a year.

“The business is our livelihood,” Kristine says.

“We’ve been here nearly nine months and we only heard about it the other day.”

“The issue is, we need more carparks, not less.

“Boaties on the way to the Sounds – if they can’t get a park, they keep driving,” Kristine says.

Council bosses says the idea was to help cut speeding through the town.

Metal planters were placed along the busy street in the past year but were removed due to vehicles crashing into them.

Marlborough District Council community advisor – Marlborough townships Adi James says the plans were revealed at a Smart and Connected gathering about a month ago.

But the initial idea was first put forward a few years ago.

Originally, Adi says plans were to line the street with large trees, however, that plan “stalled”, she says.

The latest proposal would help save money by “piggy backing” on current works fixing pipes along High Street.

Kristine says business owners are “sick” of the ongoing work along the streets.

She says the roadworks are costing her about $2000 per week in lost sales.

Adi says there is still the option to not go ahead with the project, but it is an “opportunity worth exploring”.

“There were some benefits with piggybacking,” she says.

Liquid Action owner Matt Broughan says the changes could potentially cost his business up to $50,000 a year in lost sales.

“It’s got a huge effect on local businesses,” Matt says.

“We’re all a bit blown away with it.

“To rush it through to save $100,000 – it could cost us much more.”

Matt says once the concrete planters are in, there’s no going back.

“We need the car parks desperately.”

Matt says he loves working in

Renwick and being a part of the community, but the consultation process surrounding the
proposed plans in Renwick was lacking input.

His “bottom-line” at the meeting was “no loss of car parks”.

“I’ve had a kick up the arse,” he says.

“I should have listened, but I’m prepared to put a positive effort in.”

Wine Station manager Michelle Osgood is looking for food truck chefs. Photo: Matt Brown.

An appetite for food truck comp

A Blenheim business owner is looking for food truck chefs to pit their wits and cooking talents against others.

The Wine Station in Blenheim will host an inaugural battle of food trucks in a bid to find the best food truck in the Top of the South.

Station manager Michelle Osgood says the event will also take advantage of 2020’s ‘extra Saturday’, falling on February 29.

She has been mulling over the ‘The Food Truck Off; Battle of the Whangamoas’ for around six months.

“We have had a lot of food truck events in the last two years, since we have been open, and we just wanted something that would sort of bring some different people to town,” she says.

“We also just wanted to get people together and have a street event, and that was the only way to do it.”

Open to food trucks based in Marlborough and Nelson, Michelle is hoping to attract around 20 to 30 operators.

A trophy is being made and donated by Havelock copper artist Tony Matthews, and attendees will be invited to vote for their favourite food truck.

“The idea is that maybe it will become a four-yearly event,” Michelle says.

It is also hoped that the event will attract more people to the region.

“I sort of envision that the food trucks will also get their followers to come along; the more of your own followers you have got, the more votes you’re going to get.”

Entry to the event will cost $10, with funds raised going to the Blenheim Rotary Club.

Running from 12pm and 7pm, it is hoped the event will appeal to both lunch and dinner time crowds, Michelle says.

“It’s really cool. I’m pretty excited, and I’m overwhelmed at how excited other people are,” Michelle says.

“It’s an extra Saturday that no one knew they had.”

Those interested in entering The Food Truck Off could contact Michelle directly via The Wine Station’s Facebook page, or via email; [email protected]

Clarke and Haack Construction co-owner Ant Clarke. Photo: Supplied.

Honour for construction leader

Helping tackle Marlborough’s accommodation crisis has seen a Blenheim businessman take out a top industry honour.

Clarke and Haack Construction are the driving force behind the idea, development and build of St Andrews Seasonal Worker accommodation complex in Blenheim.

Co-owner Ant Clarke was named Building Professional of the Year at the fifth annual Southern Excellence Awards in Christchurch on Friday night.

Judges say his accomplishment was a “significant achievement” with positive implications for the rest of the country.

“Ant’s vision to purpose-build RSE accommodation, his forward-thinking implementation, leadership and meticulous management has benefitted the wider Marlborough community and the property and construction industry.

“Ant has also become further involved in helping to address Marlborough’s social housing needs through work with the Ministry for Social Housing and Urban Development.”

The Porse building in central Blenheim. Photo: Matt Brown.

High rise apartment plan in jeopardy

Plans to tackle Blenheim’s growing number of empty shops by building town centre apartments have met with mounting opposition.

Consents to turn the second and fourth levels of the Porse building, on Market St North, into eight residential apartments are being considered by council.

But stiff opposition from surrounding businesses means the plans may be scrapped before the project even gets started.

A bevy of Market St businesses expressed their opposition to the inner-city apartments at a hearing at council yesterday.

Concerns of ‘reverse sensitivity’, increased traffic and the removal of car parking and loading zones were put forward by former deputy mayor and owner of the Biddy Kate’s Irish Bar Terry Sloan.

Several other businesses have joined Terry’s official objection, causing the consenting process to grind to a halt while a hearing in front of the council’s resource hearings commissioner was held.

Bikefit, Lighting Plus, Caci Clinic and Community Law added their voice to Terry’s, citing fears of increased traffic and parking problems.

In his initial submission, Terry says he was worried the normal operating noise of the bar and cafe could prompt complaints.

A bar has been operating in the Criterion building for more than 100 years.

It currently has a license to operate until 3am seven days a week.

The apartments at the Porse building, ranging in floor area from 62 square metres to 110 square metres, have been in the pipeline for building owners TH Barnes & Co since late last year.

Consents show vacant shop frontage on the street could be converted to a car parking garage and storage for each of the units.

The car parking garage entrance would require the loading zone on the street to be moved or removed.

Originally built for the Inland Revenue Department in 1987, the government agency downsized and quit the region shortly after completion.

Since then, the building has been largely vacant.

In evidence submitted to council, TH Barnes & Co Ltd director Jason Barnes says they had to reconsider the best way to utilise the building.

“Development of large format retail centres outside of the Central Business District such as the Westwood development in Springlands and a Mitre 10 store in Redwoodtown, has resulted in empty shop space in the town centre,” Jason says.

“Shop space in our building has suffered particularly badly due to its location on the periphery of the Central Business District.”

He says apartment living has traditionally been more of the domain of the larger cities.

“However, with a range of pressures on accommodation, changes in lifestyles and changes in perceptions and attitudes, apartment living is becoming an accepted, convenient and affordable living option for some people in smaller town centres.”

Council documents show TH Barnes & Co engaged a lawyer to draft a ‘Noise and Nuisance’ agreement that could be signed by both parties ahead of the development.

The documents were not signed by Terry, it says.

Plans for the apartment include double glazed windows to minimise sound intrusion and an acoustic engineer’s report found the apartments comply with the noise rule for residential activity within the CBD.

“Our proposed development will help revitalise a town that has suffered from loss of government and corporate offices to larger centres and to loss of retail shops in the town centre,” Jason says.

The team from BlueBerryIT, the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce 2019 Business Excellence Awards supreme winners. Photo: Supplied.

Best of business in the boom

A celebration of Marlborough’s businesses has seen some of the region’s best gather to mark industry achievements.

The 2019 Business Excellence Awards took place on Friday night at the Marlborough Convention Centre.

Nelson computer repair and IT business BlueberryIT was the overall winner at the glitzy event, scoring high and with an “x-factor that inspired” the Marlborough community, and the judges.

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce chief executive Hans Neilson says the awards were everything he hoped they would be.

“There cannot be a better celebration of business excellence in Marlborough,” Hans says.

“Sometimes, in the day to day, we forget our defining qualities, but to a fresh set of eyes they are readily apparent.”

He says the night was about recognising and celebrating excellence, innovation, and success of businesses and not-for-profit organisations across Marlborough.

A panel of judges, themselves successful businesspeople, chose the winners from the varied categories.

Well & Good Health won the Marlborough Convention Centre Emerging Business Award for a business that has started trading within the last 2 years.

Explore Marlborough Wine Tours won the Haack Construction Small Business Award for a business that has an annual turnover of less than $1 million.

BlueBerryIT won the Dominion Salt Medium Business Award for a business that has an annual turnover of between $1 million and $3.5 million.

New Zealand King Salmon won the Marlborough Lines Large Business Award for a business that has an annual turnover of over $3.5 million.

Cordall won the Only Marlborough Clever Business Award for a business that demonstrates innovation and responds to change.

Graeme Dingle Foundation Marlborough won the New Zealand King Salmon Community Impact Award that recognises a programme or business that has had a positive impact on the Marlborough community in a way that inspires others and makes a difference.

The Paper Rain Project co-founder Indigo Greenlaw was named the NZME Young Business Person of the Year Award, impressing judges with her ethics and business achievements.

Indigo was awarded the prize over two other nominees; DR Strength owner Richard de Reeper and The Honey Collection chief executive Georgia Devlin.

Wallace Diack Chartered Accountants director Tony de Reeper was awarded the Trustpower Business Person of the Year Award, demonstrating leadership, vision and community involvement as well as having proven business achievements.

Two others were nominated for the distinguished award, Vines Village co-owner Jeff Fulton and Cuddon chief executive Andy Rowe.

Terry and Toni Gillan were inducted into the Business Hall of Fame, designed to recognise those who have, during their business career, demonstrated service both to their industry and to the greater Marlborough community.

All entries into the emerging, small, medium and large business categories were automatically entered into the Supreme Business Award.

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce chief executive Hans Neilson and Marlborough Media director Summa MacDonald. Photo: Andrew Board.

Shop & Win competition puts $5k up for grabs

One lucky Marlburian will win $5000 cash thanks to a new local promotion, Shop & Win.

Shop & Win is a joint promotion between 30 local retailers, Marlborough Weekly and the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce and will see a total of $6000 given to locals.

The competition is simple, buy anything at one of the 30 participating businesses between 22 October and 29 November, fill in an entry form and you’re in the draw.

After six weeks one winning entry form will be pulled from the pile and the name on that entry will win $5000 cash.

There are also second and third prizes of $750 and $250 respectively.

Marlborough Weekly co-owner Summa MacDonald says the competition encourages people to shop locally.

“We have so many fantastic retailers here in Marlborough and this competition is a way to encourage people to support them and go in the draw to win a massive prize,” Summa says.

“It’s such a cool way to get the town buzzing and it’s so simple for people to take part.

“We encourage everyone to fill in a form when you shop because there will be a local winner.”

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Hans Neilson says when you buy local your dollars kick off a multiplier effect.

“Spending your money at independent businesses begins a cycle in which those businesses then spend their money at local shops, support community groups and employ locals.”

Hans says small local businesses are the “economic backbone” of Marlborough.

“Many don’t have large marketing budgets so this offers a resource to raise their profile by being a part of something bigger, something that supports Marlborough as a whole,” he says.

“This is a great campaign and we’re proud to support it.

“It’s a gift to your community, and with Marlborough Anniversary coming what better way to say happy birthday.”

A full list of the participating businesses is on page 9 of this newspaper, or keep an eye out for the Shop & Win posters in the windows of participating businesses. A full list is also on the Marlborough App.

Wairau River winemaker Same rose and viticulturist Hamish Rose toasting to their Champion Sauvignon Blanc. Photo: Supplied.

Wine win for Marlborough family

A pioneering family of winemakers has seen off competition from thousands to see one of its wines come out on top.

Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc 2019 has taken the Champion Sauvignon Blanc title at the 2019 New World Wine Awards.

In its 17th year, the awards attracted 1274 entries from 176 wineries across New Zealand and overseas.

Seventeen independent wine experts took part in a blind taste test with only varietal, vintage and country of origin noted.

The Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc 2019 comes from the Rose Family Estate vineyards located in the Wairau Valley,

Winemakers Sam Rose and Nick Entwistle and viticulturalist Hamish Rose are extremely proud of the wine.

Sam says he believes the 2019 growing season and harvest contributed to the wines outstanding quality.

“The warm and fine weather through the late summer months allowed the development of a riper spectrum of tropical flavours, providing us with excellent blending components to create our Sauvignon Blanc” he says.

Volunteers spent four hours picking 6kgs of gorse flowers. Photo: Supplied.

Gin fuels record gorse harvest

A key ingredient in a Marlborough-made gin is helping keep a notorious weed at bay.

Record hauls of gorse flower have been gathered at a community harvest event.

Six kilogrammes of the yellow flower were handpicked over four hours.

Twice a year, the team behind Marlborough’s new Elemental Distillery organise a local foraging event.

In a bid to entice people to pick the problem plant, which causes misery to hay fever sufferers every spring, Elemental Distillers co-owner Ben Leggett puts on a free BBQ.

But Ben himself is a big fan of the plant.

“I simply love it. Not only is it both aromatic, herbaceous and fruity but it’s somewhat of an anti-establishment botanical in a market already full of rogue exotic species.

“The only issue remaining is how to harvest it in peak flowering and in volumes enough to last until the following season,” he says.

The answer came in the form of eight off-road vehicles, one gourmet barbeque put on by Francis Nolan from Boom Chef, a large pine plantation, local volunteers and some very thick gloves.

Introduced around the early 19th century as a hedgerow for livestock by European settlers, gorse flourished in New Zealand’s temperate climate flowering twice a year compared to just once in the Northern Hemisphere.

Gorse also generates exploding seed pods which can travel over 6 metres from the parent plant and can lay dormant in soil for up to 50 years before sprouting.

Ben says thanks to a collaboration with Marlborough 4WD Club, 15 local volunteers headed up into Marlborough’s Kaituna Hills last month aiming for a 300-meter-high plateau located in Stoney Creek forestry.

“Without the support by Marlborough locals, we would never have been able to deliver a fresh botanical gin like that of Roots,” Ben says.

Project coordinator Alec McNeil is overseeing a nationwide initiative which could see people paid to recycle. Photo: Matt Brown.

Cash for trash

Marlborough could help lead the way in a national bid to help boost recycling levels.

The council’s solid waste manager Alec McNeil will oversee a pioneering project which could see people paid to drop off empty drink containers.

And he believes Marlburians will be quick to take up the initiative.

“Marlborough is used to source separation of recycling so the possibility of a future Container Recycle Scheme (CRS) should complement and add to our existing approach,” he says.

Council's solid waste manager Alec McNeil believes Marlburians will be quick to take up the initiative. Photo: Matt Brown.
Council’s solid waste manager Alec McNeil believes Marlburians will be quick to take up the initiative. Photo: Matt Brown.

Under the scheme, which was unveiled last week, plastic, glass and aluminium drink containers will carry a refundable deposit, potentially between 5-20 cents each.

Helping people cash in on their empties could be key to boosting recycling levels.

Alec says he believes any initiative would rely on being readily available.

“A key focus of the design will be ensuring equity of service provision across NZ that affords all communities the opportunity to engage with the system,” he says.

“At a more strategic level a CRS changes the way we think about containers by reintroducing a value back into the material”.

Marlborough and Auckland councils will carry out the project design together following a government funding boost of almost $1 million.

Alec, who is project coordinator and deputy spokesman is a trustee on the Agrecovery Foundation Trust Board.

He says the scheme will help keeps useful resources out of landfills and has the potential to create new jobs.

The two councils will work with the Ministry for the Environment and others including the beverage, packaging and recycling industries, councils, retailers, charitable organisations, Māori and consumer representatives.

The application was initiated from involvement with the National Resource Recovery Group (NRR).

The NRR was convened by the Ministry for the Environment to consider a response to the recycling challenges facing NZ.

“In lieu of the contraction of markets particularly post the ‘National Sword’ policy implemented by China,” Alec says.

China has introduced strict rules around importing solid wastes as raw materials. The policy bans various plastic, paper and solid waste.

Alec says a CRS scheme would impact on material flow.

“Auckland and Marlborough councils offered to submit an application to the waste minimisation fund to facilitate a working group that would design a CRS for NZ.“

A final design is due to be presented to the Government by August 2020 and rolled out in 2022.