Close Up

More 25-54 year olds now watch TV3’s News and Current affairs stable than those of any other network, including direct competitor TV ONE.

In April, 1,602,100 of New Zealanders in TV3’s target 25-54 demographic watched Firstline, 3 News, Campbell Live, Nightline, The Nation or 60 Minutes for their news, compared with 1,578,900 watching Business, Breakfast, ONE News, Close Up, Tonight. Q&A or Sunday on TV ONE.

A key contributor to TV3’s audience reach is newcomer Firstline, which is attracting new viewers to early morning television, and to TV3’s News and Current Affairs programming as a whole.

Director of News and Current Affairs, Mark Jennings, says the high ratings reflect New Zealand’s increasing appetite for more sophisticated news coverage and analysis.

“The success of Firstline shows there is a growing market for a serious news programme in the mornings, and that viewers are turning away from fluff and a forced style of presenting,” he says. 

“From Firstline to Nightline, we are committed to delivering the most up-to-date and informative news service in New Zealand. 

“Moving ahead of TV ONE in its core demographic is very pleasing, and we look forward to providing Kiwis with in-depth coverage of the Rugby World Cup and the Election in future months”.

Firstline ended the month of April with a solid average 11.7% share in the 25-54 demographic.  In contrast, TV ONE’s Breakfast lost share for the second consecutive month, ending April down 12% compared to March.

3 News ratings also increased in April.   The 25-54 audience grew by 4% compared with the March figures, while ONE News’ audience was marginally down in the same demographic.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has decided not to uphold a complaint by the Manawatu Standard regarding a segment on Close Up that had a dig at Palmerston North.

The TV One show featured a segment on October 1st last year called Worst Town that used dated footage of the city’s square prior to its $24 million CBD upgrade.

Manawatu Standard editor Michael Cummings filed a complaint regarding the segment, saying that the footage used by Close Up was misleading.

However, the BSA disagreed with Cummings, stating that the footage ran for about 27 seconds in a four-minute, 45-seconds segment.

“We consider that the footage was too brief for viewers to draw any conclusions about Palmerston North’s image, or its appeal as a visitor destination,” BSA chairman Peter Radich said.

Cummings said that despite the ruling, a message has been sent that the city won’t stand for being mocked by the rest of the country.

“The point of the complaint was to send a message that the people of this city are no longer going to roll over every time someone flings mud at us,” he said.

“The Close Up item led directly to the `I Love Palmy’ campaign we ran, providing a fantastic opportunity to celebrate what makes this city such a great place to live. Funnily enough, not once did we have to dig out outdated archival footage to support the point we wanted to make.”

Source: Stuff

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has ruled against TVNZ in a case regarding sexually explicit images shown on Close Up.

TVNZ has been ordered to apologise and pay a fine for showing clips from pornographic movies during a story on August 11 last year.

The BSA deemed the images to represent an “egregious breach” of good taste and decency rules.

“We consider that screening these clips from pornographic movies on free-to-air television and in the PGR time-band, amounted to an egregious breach of broadcasting standards. The fact that this item was broadcast, in our view, reflects a significant lapse in judgment by the broadcaster,” the BSA said.

TVNZ has copped a $3000 fine and will be forced to air a comprehensive summary of its breaches on Close Up.

Source: Herald

 

TVNZ is making more than 1 million dollars of airtime available free of charge to support New Zealanders’ efforts in fundraising for the Canterbury earthquake.

By later this week a daily 3-minute segment called “The Road to Recovery” will go to air during ‘Breakfast’ and again during ‘Close Up’.TVNZ is making more than 1 million dollars of airtime available free of charge to support New Zealanders’ efforts in fundraising for the Canterbury earthquake.

By later this week a daily 3-minute segment called “The Road to Recovery” will go to air during ‘Breakfast’ and again during ‘Close Up’.

It will feature many of the fundraising efforts taking place around the country, along with stories of what ordinary New Zealanders are doing to support Cantabrians and messages of support from well-known people at home and abroad.

The segment is expected to run for at least a month.

An associated website will be up and running shortly, where people can register interest and information about their planned activities.

Details on how to find the website will released as soon as the planning is complete.

 

 

It will feature many of the fundraising efforts taking place around the country, along with stories of what ordinary New Zealanders are doing to support Cantabrians and messages of support from well-known people at home and abroad.

 

The segment is expected to run for at least a month.

 

An associated website will be up and running shortly, where people can register interest and information about their planned activities.

 

Details on how to find the website will released as soon as the planning is complete.

 

Complete transcripts of Mark Hotchin’s interviews with Mark Sainsbury on Close Up last night and Nadine Chalmers-Ross on AMP Business. 

 

Close Up interview:


Mark Sainsbury:   And front up he does, Mark Hotchin joins me.  Look tell me do you ever feel sorry for those people who lost money because of the Hanover collapse?

Mark Hotchin:  Of course I’ve felt sorry right the way through, this was never the plan that we set about doing, this business was designed to succeed, we thought it would, it was built to last.

Sainsbury:  Have you ever said sorry to them?

Hotchin:  I have yes.

Sainsbury:  Because you seem to provoke a lot of anger and part of it as we saw in that, is the lifestyle that you lead when other people are basically on the bones of their arse.

Hotchin:   I think there’s – yes is the short answer, although it’s incredibly exaggerated.  A little over two years ago I had a 50th birthday in Fiji, I didn’t pay for it, everybody paid for themselves.  They flew themselves there, they paid their own accommodation, they paid their own food, and yes I attended, and I’ve apologised for it, it was ill-timed and I accept that.

Sainsbury:  But you know you look at – you know there’s the house in Paratai Drive, this was the most expensive house in the country.

Hotchin:  Yes I know, of course you’ve gotta look back, well there’s a couple of things about the house of course, it’s subject to a court order and it’s owned by a family trust, and I’m not to speak of it, but you know that was six years ago, it was a very different time.

Sainsbury:  But you see, like people watch and go ooh it’s owned by a family trust, it’s another of these rich guys hiding their assets or doing something dodgy around trusts.

Hotchin:  Like as I said I can’t really talk about the trust, but one of the things that’s interesting about this is, I’m not a beneficiary of that trust.  Our plan had been to live in the home by contributing to it, but anyway as I said I can’t talk about it.

Sainsbury:  But the idea, when you first decided to build it, was it a vanity project?

Hotchin:  I think looking back now you kind of question it of course, it wasn’t a vanity project it just – it grew over time and ended up somewhat larger than we anticipated.

Sainsbury:  And I spose it’s like you know the holidays in Hawaii , living in Queensland.  The investors think you’re rubbing their noses in it.

Hotchin:  Yes I know.  Clearly there’s a lot of misinformation.  Living in Queensland is not living in the lap of luxury, we rent an apartment, it’s a ground floor apartment, mainly because our home was sold some time ago, in the middle of last year.

Sainsbury:  But you’re not broke are you?

Hotchin:  Well I am at the moment, my assets are frozen, and they’re reasonably limited anyway.  We put back a lot of money into Hanover.  You know there was talk in the programme there about dividends.  Way more money went back in than came out.  This is a total misnomer the dividend amount was exceeded well and truly.

Sainsbury:   Well let’s just deal with that now.  One of the big issues with the investors and why they have it in for you, the last three months before the company collapsed fifteen and a half million was paid out in dividends to the shareholders, and that’s you and Eric Watson.

Hotchin:  No not in the last three months, the numbers as I understand it, there was about 15 million paid out in the last six months, and about double that went back in.

Sainsbury:  Went back in for what?

Hotchin:  It went back in to reduce related party debts, to take over some liabilities that were in Australia that were Hanover Finance’s.

Sainsbury:  But related party debts are loans the company had made to the owners is it?

Hotchin:  Yes…

Sainsbury:  So you’re paying off the money you owe to the company?

Hotchin:   Yes although in part it’s about liquidity as well, so if we hadn’t paid that money, those debts would have stayed higher.

Sainsbury:  I spose I’m getting to is that you’re not doing it hard, and some for those investors are.

Hotchin:  Oh look I absolutely know that investors are doing it hard and certainly this wasn’t what we intended.  The plan had been to move from a platform that wasn’t working to a better one with Allied.  We got sold a dream, thought it made sense, and you know sadly helped them deliver that opportunity.

Sainsbury:  Part of the situation now you’ve been back to the court trying to get them to free up those assets, and I come back to – I mean can you not live on a thousand dollars a week?

Hotchin:  I can live on a thousand dollars a week reasonably comfortably which is what I said to the court, if I was in my own home, and if I had my things around me, but being in temporary accommodation, no furniture, no clothes, no vehicles, kids into new schools etcetera, it was tough, but if you actually look what did happen despite what it says in the papers, I ended up saying okay it’ll be a thousand a week.

Sainsbury:  Why not come back and live here.  I mean you must have friends who could put you up?  Do you have any friends?

Hotchin:  Yeah of course, I have many friends, friends have stayed with me.

Sainsbury:  Why not live here then?

Hotchin:  The main reason is the children, the constant media attention, it just didn’t seem appropriate to put them in that.

Sainsbury:  Thinking back, I mean if you weren’t building the biggest house in the country, you know if you didn’t have – whether people paid for or not a bash in Fiji – you are of that lifestyle, it’s always going to attract attention.

Hotchin:  Well you say that, you know the 50th bash in Fiji was two years ago, more than two years ago, it was planned nearly three years ago, life was a bit different then.  Yes I took the family on holiday in Hawaii. With the benefit of hindsight clearly that was a mistake, I got a good deal, I did feel I wanted to get away, we’d had an enormously stressful period, and we’d done a deal, we’d sold the assets to Allied and thought they were going off to a better life.

Sainsbury:  Just while we’re on that, on the holiday, let’s just clear something up, because your wife was quoted in a paper here as saying, ‘we don’t have to justify where we get our money or what it’s spent on’.  Did that happen?

Hotchin:   No.  She didn’t say it.

Sainsbury:  Can you prove it didn’t happen?

Hotchin:  Well she got four affidavits saying it didn’t happen.  I was nearby, but more importantly I know here, and anybody who’s ever met here will know she didn’t say it.

Sainsbury:  Will you sue the newspaper?

Hotchin:  Well we were in the process of doing that and my assets were frozen, so it’s made it a little more difficult.

Sainsbury:  Okay, let’s just go on to Allied, the deal you did with Allied, which you’re not criticising them effectively for mismanagement, for not looking after the assets.  Now some find that a bit rich.

Hotchin:   Well they do because they’ve been painted a picture.  The reality is we got approached about doing a deal with them in August.  They did four months due diligence on that book – four months independent, visited every property, looked at every loan.  They then came to their conclusions and they happened to coincide with what we’d come up with through our auditors.  So the numbers were very similar, so they presented an offer that said we’ve got a better platform, you guys are in a moratorium it’s thinking, you can’t go forward you can’t do anything with it, you can’t lend, you can’t add value.  We have a structure that’s better.  We’ve got a government guarantee on our finance company, we’re gonna put these assets in as capital so they don’t need to be sold, and that’s a critical component – they don’t need to be sold they’ll sit as capital.  They’ve never done that.  From the minute they took over they have sold these assets wholesale.

Sainsbury:  You know what they’re saying, they’re saying you sold them a pup.

Hotchin:  Of course, it’s just an easy out isn’t it?  Look at the track record, they took it over, they didn’t do what they said they were going to do.  They haven’t done one thing.  Nationwide went into receivership, Matarangi went into receivership, and every message that’s come out of that company has been negative, every single one.

Sainsbury:  If they didn’t do what they said they were gonna do after they bought it, how do you know they actually did the proper due diligence beforehand?  They might have been so keen to get hold of a deal they thought was gonna work for them….

Hotchin:  Well we can’t ensure that they do their due diligence appropriately, we can supply them with all the information, we can lead them to the  properties, and in some cases we had our people meet them there, I’m pretty sure they did a reasonably thorough job, and they got exactly what they thought they were getting, which was a number of assets that are best served being sold over time, and they need help, they need capital assistance, and instead they’ve been wholesale sold.

Sainsbury:  But things went bad when you guys were running Hanover, couldn’t they have just gone bad while these guys were running Allied Farmers?

Hotchin:  Oh look I’m not suggesting that there’s no degree of market movement, the market’s been tough I know that.  The problem is, they had a plan that meant they didn’t have to sell them, that’s what attracted us, they didn’t have to sell them.  Could have been over time, you didn’t need to realise that cash if they’d put them in the finance company.

Sainsbury:  But you were out there at those meetings telling the Hanover investors take this deal – look if you want to give me a kick that’s fine – but don’t do that, this is gonna be good for you.  It hasn’t been good for them.

Hotchin:  No, clearly, and that’s why I’m here.  The whole point is we were sold a concept and an idea and they haven’t delivered, and they haven’t even come close, it’s so far away.

Sainsbury:  So are you saying you were hoodwinked?

Hotchin:  Totally.

Sainsbury:  But you were sposed to be a smart businessman.

Hotchin:  Well the concept of somebody taking what appears to be a fantastic opportunity, one that I was envious of, and taking that and not doing it, and doing the opposite, selling these things wholesale is illogical.

Sainsbury:  Alright so is it bad business, or are you saying these guys are dishonest?

Hotchin:  I’m saying they had a plan and didn’t stick to it for reasons that I’m not sure.  I suspect it’s because they had more money pressure than they let on.

Sainsbury:  The not do something you said you’re gonna do, is that dishonest?

Hotchin:  I think that to not do something that you said you were going to do is at the least misleading.

Sainsbury:  Do you consider yourself an honest man?

Hotchin:  I do.

Sainsbury:  How do you think other people view you?

Hotchin:  I think there’s a lot of mixed feeling out there, there’s been a lot of media attention, there’s been a lot of misinformation, there’s been you know this lavish lifestyle, 90% of it’s exaggerated.

Sainsbury:  But look when you’re building the biggest house in the country it’s hard to deny you had a lavish lifestyle?

Hotchin:  Well the house obviously makes it very difficult and notwithstanding it’s technically – well it isn’t mine.  Yeah no no, I see that, the point is that all of to these other references to you know things that I’ve read about where I’ve been or done or seen, is just not true.

Sainsbury:  Okay.  You’re saying Allied didn’t keep their promises.  The question is as to whether you did.  Let’s go back to Hanover, and when you got into trouble, when it collapsed there was a moratorium.  You and Eric Watson promised to put in 30 million.

Hotchin:  We actually promised to put in 76 million.

Sainsbury:  But the deal with Allied got you off the hook on that didn’t it?

Hotchin:  No no.  We said we’d put in 76 million and we put in 76 million, so that happened, despite rumours or people suggesting to the contrary, that happened.  Where you’re talking about is under certain circumstances in the future there was  potential further call.

Sainsbury:  What I want to know is how could you get caught out on this.  As I said you’ve been in the business.  Everyone else says it was plain as the nose on your face things were going bad.

Hotchin:  At Allied?

Sainsbury:  No no, around the country, this is in 2008 before Hanover collapsed.  Didn’t you sniff the breeze?

Hotchin:  Look of course, you know 24 companies went before us and I think 60 in total, definitely things had tightened there’s no question, and we were managing it you know, this was a strong company, it had good governance, it had very good practices, we believed we would get through.

Sainsbury:  But if you could sniff the breeze how could you take dividends out?

Hotchin:  Because they went back in, it was liquidity, every dollar that went out two dollars was going back in, so it was actually creating liquidity.

Sainsbury:  The investors watching this tonight Mark Hotchin, I mean are they gonna buy this do you think?

Hotchin:   I don’t know, I think there’s been so much misinformation.  I guess the point is that you don’t have to buy it.  What you have to do is say what’s happened since I did my deal with Allied?  Have they performed?  Have they lived up to any of their promises?  And the answer is no.  We did a deal of 78 cents, it’s now two cents times you know three shares, that’s ridiculous.

Sainsbury:  I mean sure enough, people may have to look at the behaviour of Allied, but there is still the sense, people think you got off the hook on Hanover.

Hotchin:  Well I’m not sure how they think that because apart from anything else we put in a huge support package.  When the deal happened with Allied that support package was forfeited, so the 76 million that went in, we left that behind, plus the capital that went in got left behind.

Sainsbury:  But the difference is I spose, you and Eric Watson can put in 76 million, and you’re not gonna be in the poor house at the end of it.  A lot of the mums and dads watching tonight who put their retirement savings, their nest eggs into Hanover, feel betrayed, cos they don’t have any cushion.

Hotchin:  And I understand that, that’s why we worked so hard to try and deliver a better alternative, rather than a sinking lid which is what we had in the moratorium, we tried to give them an opportunity to add value, to have an exit to have liquidity, to have shares that they could trade and sell and value add, and at the time it seemed like a very good opportunity.

Sainsbury:  Is the whole environment just too loose, too cowboy in this country?

Hotchin:  I think there was a period when clearly it was very easy to be in that space and as a consequence there were a lot of people in there that shouldn’t have been, and some of those failures perhaps caused a roll on effect, but you know Nationwide, Allied’s subsidiary Nationwide is in receivership, you never hear of it, you hear of Hanover every day.

Sainsbury:  Allied on the other hand as I say, they blame you, they went to the Serious Fraud Office, the Securities Commission, there are investigations underway, investigations at this stage.  Are you worried about those?

Hotchin:  No.  Well I shouldn’t say not worried about them, you know you go through a process.  The Securities Commission as I understand it’s investigating every failed finance company in the country, so that was going to happen regardless.  Mr Alloway’s made allegations about a number of loans that got transferred which he’s reported to the SFO which they’re investigating, but what I can say with confidence, no executive or director of any of the Hanover companies every knowingly did anything wrong.

Sainsbury:  But the buck does stop with you doesn’t it?

Hotchin:  It would certainly appear so.

Sainsbury:  Look don’t go away,   Next – What is next for Mark Hotchin and all those Hanover investors still waiting.

 

*********

 

Sainsbury:  Welcome back.  Well Mark Hotchin is still here.  Why didn’t you do an Eric Watson and just stay overseas?

Hotchin:  I don’t think that was the appropriate thing to do, but in fairness to Eric you know he gets a bit of flak, probably not so much because he hasn’t been here, but …

Sainsbury:  He gets nothing near the flak that you’ve got.

Hotchin:  No, but equally he’s lived overseas for a long time, and you know the likes of the shareholders’ support package I talked about a little earlier 76 million notwithstanding he wasn’t here, he put up his half.

Sainsbury:  But do you feel a bit bitter that you’re the one who’s had to take it, and you’re the one, you’re the public face, you’re the bogey man for the finance collapses, and Eric Watson’s effectively got away scot free?

Hotchin:  Well I mean you could hardly blame him to not come back in the middle of it, except the overriding factor I guess is that he doesn’t live here, he lives in England and he has for eight years, and to expect him to come back and go through this – well I don’t see what value he could add anyway to be honest.

Sainsbury:  You don’t think he should have just manned up and ….

Hotchin:  Well he wasn’t actually that close to the running of the business.

Sainsbury:  Look we see it in the papers, we know he’s doing alright, he’s still got plenty of money.  I come back to there’s people watching tonight and thinking oh well you know they’re not gonna necessarily think poor old Mark Hotchin.  They’re gonna think you’ve got assets stashed away, I mean they’re frozen at the moment, if you win the court case do you have any idea what you’re worth?

Hotchin:   My personal worth is incredibly low.  I’ve got bills to pay, I’ve got assets frozen, I’ve got bills to pay, I’ve tax to pay.  I’m not sure how relevant it is but certainly what I can tell you is my financial position now compared to say three years ago is dramatically different.

Sainsbury:  Well come back to three years ago you’re building the most expensive house in the country.  Five years ago.  So look I mean you’re still a millionaire?

Hotchin:  No well at the moment I’m far from a millionaire.

Sainsbury:  Cos people want to know, he’s got money stashed away somewhere, somewhere you’ve got it stashed away or it’s in trusts or in Swiss bank accounts?

Hotchin:  No, I don’t have money stashed away.  I’ve had to fill all this out for the SFO and for Securities Commission and the Courts etcetera, there’s no money stashed away.

Sainsbury:  So what do you want to say to the investors tonight?

Hotchin:  Well I guess the biggest thing is I’m sorry.  This wasn’t the intention.  We set about trying to build a business that we thought would withstand the test of time.  When we had a glitch or more than a glitch, when we had to stop trading, decided it was the prudent thing to do to stop at that time, to give some comfort to those same investors, we put in a lot of money, a big support package, and went forward.  Now we then decided that the best thing for them, not for me, the best thing for the investors was to do the Allied deal.  You know it would have been quite easy to have just carried on.

Sainsbury:  Can I ask you, look putting the rules aside, putting whether this box should have been ticked or that box should have been ticked, do you think you’ve been a decent citizen in how you’ve carried on business?

Hotchin:  Yes I do.

Sainsbury:  I can give you one example at one of those meetings there was a woman there who said they wrote to the directors and said my husband needs a stem cell transplant, can I get my money out, and you said no.  That doesn’t imply decency.

Hotchin:  Well I can’t comment on that because I didn’t see that letter.  We had a policy – that surprises me – we had a policy at board level that anybody who had urgent need for early repayment would get it, however during the moratorium, during that period from July 08, we were barred from any money going out.  Now that wasn’t our decision, that was a decision by the Trustee and their advisors, we couldn’t take pay for anything.

Sainsbury:  But you believe you’re a decent human being?

Hotchin:  I do.

Sainsbury:  Why are you doing this?  Why are you coming out, because you know I mean it’s gonna rake up everything else?

Hotchin:  Sure, and of course I don’t want to be sitting here, I’m not particularly enjoying it.  The reason I’m doing it is a lot of people have lost a lot of money, a lot of people believed Allied, and they believed me when I said I thought the Allied deal was good, and it’s all very well and good for Allied to say blame Hanover we didn’t get the right assets.  That’s nonsense.  If they’d stuck to their plan and had treated these assets as they needed to be treated, and had backed them into the vehicle that they had ready and waiting, we wouldn’t be here today.  If these shares were back at 20 cents or whatever the number was that they’d got them at, this conversation wouldn’t be happening.

Sainsbury:  And if Hanover hadn’t collapsed of course you would be here.

Hotchin:  Of course.

Sainsbury:  Obviously we’re gonna get feedback people will be emailing in now I can tell you that, or on our Face Book, saying what they think.  What do you think people are going to make of you tonight?

Hotchin:  Look I don’t think there’s any easy solutions, I think a lot of people have lost a lot of money in Hanover and in many other finance companies.  They’re hurt, they’re upset, they’re bitter, I understand all of that.  What we’ve always tried to do and are continuing to try to do is get the best result.  Now we thought we delivered that with the Allied deal or helped support that deal, and with the benefit of hindsight that was wrong, and leaving it as it is, it’s gonna get worse.

Sainsbury:  Are you frightened to walk down the street?

Hotchin:   No.

Sainsbury:  Mark Hotchin, thank you for coming in tonight.

 

Interview on AMP Business:

 

Nadine:  Former Hanover investors now hold almost worthless shares in Allied Farmers, the company that bought the loan book.  Allied blames Hanover and Hanover blames Allied, recently issuing a letter to Allied’s shareholders.  Well with me now is Hanover Director, Mark Hotchin.  Good morning Mark.

Mark Hotchin:  Good morning.

Nadine:  Now you accuse them of mismanaging the assets, but did you sell them a lemon?

Mark:  No we sold them exactly what they thought they were buying, they did four months due diligence, we had a full audit, and they knew exactly what they were getting, and it should have worked, their proposal was fine, they just didn’t stick to it.

Nadine:  They did their own due diligence but you and the board had a better knowledge than anyone.  Did you ever think that it was worth 396 million?

Mark:  Yeah of course it was audited, it was a very extensive audit, it was based on valuations, based on management input, it was worth what it was worth.

Nadine:  Two months later they wrote it down by more than 200 million dollars, how could that be due to mismanagement?

Mark:  I’m not sure if it was the total amount at the same time, but my understanding is part of that was an accounting adjustment, and they had a large receivership in there as well, exactly which loans were written off I don’t know, we weren’t privy to that.

Nadine:  But it’s now worth a quarter of what it was when they acquired the assets, how could that be mismanagement that has resulted in such a write down?

Mark:  Yeah that’s a very good question.  Part of it is they’ve raised a lot of cash, they obviously had cash problems so if you have assets that are difficult to move in a slow market and you insist on moving them, you have to take a big discount and that’s what they’ve done.

Nadine:  Why are you bringing this up now?  What are you hoping to achieve?

Mark:   You know (a) we’ve had a blame for this, but more importantly…

Nadine:  Do you not deserve the blame?

Mark:  No it’s actually more about the investors, they backed this deal, they got sold a concept that was never put into place.  What little value there is left they need to have an opportunity to gain some value out of it.

Nadine:  But Allied said from the outset that they were going to have to pay down debt, and that it was gonna take some time to realise these assets – are we judging them too soon?

Mark:  Well given that three quarters of it’s already been written off, I don’t think so, and they did say they’d have to pay down debt, they just didn’t say as much debt as there was.

Nadine:  You talk about the value of the assets being at 396 million, and part of that was the shareholder package that you put in with some 76, but part of that was assets, that was the Matarangi Estate, that was written down very heavily as well and eventually put into receivership, so was it ever worth what you said it was worth?

Mark:  Well it wasn’t what I said it was worth, it’s what valuers said it was worth.  So it had a valuation, it had been extensively, I mean we owned the thing for 12 years, had a pretty good knowledge of it.  The first thing Allied did when they took it over was close the sales office, very hard to make sales if you close the sales office.  They had no intention of seeing that property through right from the start.

Nadine:  But they would have had to plough millions of dollars into that to get any value out of it anyway wouldn’t they?

Mark:  Well no there was stock, and they had stock ready to sell, so no they didn’t have to spend a lot of money at all.

Nadine:  Is part of this campaign to get the five million dollars that Allied Farmers owes you?

Mark:  No, no.  The five million dollars is a bit of a misnomer.  We’ve been accused of a lot of things, and one of the ways of defending that is to you know go through the courts which is what we’re doing.  I’m very very aware the potential effect taking five millions dollars out of that company would have on it, and we’re not looking to do that.

Nadine:  Are you abandoning that claim for the five million?

Mark:  No we’re not abandoning the claim, but it won’t go to mine or Eric’s or the shareholders’ benefit, we’re looking at a structure that will not deprive the company of cash, but will also give some value back to the Hanover shareholders.

Nadine:  Let’s look at what happened before the company went into moratorium and then before the sale.  People have said that you took out some 85 million dollars in dividends over the last two years.  Was that not irresponsible given the conditions that were prevalent at that time.

Mark:  Well two years is a long time, so 2006 was a very different market, and there were a lot of areas where that money went to, including redemption of capital notes etcetera, because the only way to get money out was through dividends.  Probably the more important period is the six months prior.  Now yes there were dividends in that period, but more than double what was taken out went back in.

Nadine:  But it went into related party loans, so was that not going into your back pocket anyway?

Mark:  No because it went into Hanover, it went back into the finance company to reduce – in part to reduce related party loans, thus giving them more cash, more liquidity.

Nadine:  But if you were reducing related party loans, I mean they were on a capitalised interest basis anyway, so did they need to be reduced?

Mark:  Well not all of them were on capitalised interest, but it’s not a matter of whether they needed to be reduced, any reduction’s good, so cash back into the business is better than cash out.  So if 10 million went out and 20 million went back in you’re 10 million better off.

Nadine:  So you’re telling us that that was responsible to take out that 15 million dollars in the six months before Hanover froze repayments to invest it?

Mark:  I think in light of the fact that more than double of it went back in yes.

Nadine:  Do you have a business future in this country?

Mark:  Um, I don’t know.

Nadine:  Are you going to pursue one?

Mark:  I will pursue business opportunities.

Nadine:  In the finance company sector?

Mark:  Probably not.

Nadine:  What about FAI Money?

Mark:  Um, what do you mean?

Nadine:  I mean you’re still involved with that.

Mark:  Yeah I am, and FAI doesn’t take money from the public.

Nadine:  Does it lend on any different sort of basis?

Mark:  It’s a consumer finance business, so it does a totally different type of lending.

Nadine:  Alright, let’s look at the Serious Fraud Office and the Securities Commission.  Obviously Allied’s taken their concerns to the Serious Fraud Office, and they seem to think that there is grounds to investigate, does that concern you?

Mark:  Obviously any investigation is something you have to go through, there’s always issues, you know you have to supply an enormous amount of information, it takes a long time, but concerned no, I don’t think we did anything wrong.

Nadine:  Are they gonna find anything?

Mark:  I don’t believe so.

Nadine:  So where to now for you, where to from here?

Mark:  In relation to Allied or…

Nadine:  Yes, I mean what do you want to see there?

Mark:  Change…

Nadine:  Rob Alloway’s already going to leave.

Mark:  Well he’s going to leave his executive role not the board, you know there’s issues in there that such is the reset clause.  Now he at the beginning of this had some five million shares.  After the reset by writing all this money down he’ll end up with some 17 million shares.

Nadine:  But it’s still worth the same amount of money, and in fact that’s for all Allied’s original shareholders, not just him.

Mark:  No no I accept that, but the people who are running the company benefit or at the very least neutral by any money they write off, there’s no incentive for them to add value.

Nadine:  You’re not trying to make him your scapegoat?

Mark:  No I think he’s trying to make me his scapegoat.

Nadine:  Alright Mark Hotchin, thank you for your time this morning.

A major milestone in Mark Sainbury’s career has passed by without any fanfare from the network he has worked for since the 1980s.

The Close Up host celebrated 30 years with TVNZ last week but the milestone was not acknowledged with any form of celebration from TVNZ.

Following a Herald story on the milestone, TVNZ have since begun planning a small celebratory party for the veteran presenter.

Parties have been thrown by TVNZ in the past for Peter Williams’ 30-year milestone and also in celebration of Kevin Milne’s 25 year contribution.

Source: Herald

Stories from Close Up, 14th of December, 2010:

NB: This post will be updated shortly. In the meantime, feel free to leave your thoughts on tonights stories below.

The honours have been dished out in the annual Dan News Awards which asks viewers to vote for their favourite New Zealand news personalities of the year.

Run by Dan News, the awards celebrate the most popular kiwi newsreaders and journalists in a number of categories including Most Popular News, Most Popular Current Affairs Presenter and Most Popular Reporter.

3 News managed to win the Most Popular News category, which is a tad ironic considering how unpopular it appears to be in the ratings, while its presenters also took out their respective categories for Most Popular Newsreaders.

Check out the full list of winners over at Dan News.

Source: Dan News

Stories from Close Up, 13th of December, 2010:

NB: This post will be updated shortly. In the meantime, feel free to leave your thoughts on tonights stories below.

Stories from Close Up, 9th of December, 2010:

NB: This post will be updated shortly. In the meantime, feel free to leave your thoughts on tonights stories below.