The NBR is reporting that Hanover Finance co-owner Eric Watson is planning to celebrate his 50th birthday with an extravagant theme party in Istanbul this weekend for him and his best friends, including the lawyers who advised on Hanover's moratorium and his business partner Mark Hotchin. He appears to be carrying on where Hotchin left off, who celebrated his 50th birthday party on the exclusive NZ$1,160 a night Fiji Island of Vomo with 80 of his best friends, including Watson. Here's what the NBR is saying.
In the midst of the "Great Recession" the flamboyant, yet controversial Mr Watson is celebrating his birthday over two days, holding a cocktail party on Friday April 10 "“ his actual birthday "“ and a dinner and themed party on the Saturday night. NBR was unable to confirm rumours that the themed event includes a trip on the ultimate symbol of luxury "“ the Orient Express "“ but can confirm that a contingent of guests are joining the party from New Zealand.
The NBR says the party flying to Istanbul include lawyers from Chapman Tripp.
Messers Watson and Hotchin haven't always seen eye to eye and have long harboured a secret battle in terms of their NBR Rich List ranking "“ one always looking to get annual bragging rights over the other. Last year Mr Watson was valued at $450 million; Mr Hotchin less than half that at $200 million. Whether Mr Watson's Istanbul party is twice as good as Vomo remains to be seen but clearly it will cost significantly more. A first class flight on Singapore Airlines from Auckland to Istanbul this weekend costs more than $13,000. A return ticket cattle class costs $3000.
What I think Watson didn't attend the Hanover Finance moratorium meeting in December, which gave an early indication of his level of concern for the 17,000 investors owed NZ$553 million by Hanover Finance. Many will not see their money back for 5 years. It's a pity Mr Watson is not delaying his party for 5 years. I'd suggest each one of these investors ask to be invited to Istanbul at Watson's expense to share the good times. I'd suggest they fly first class because many are elderly and need some relaxation after a tough year or so. Some who are looking to recover their money could choose to cash in those tickets, which are worth about a third of the average owed by Mr Hotchin and Mr Watson to each investor. I would suggest that any one of these investors who bumps into Mr Watson at a Warriors game or the Tua vs Cameron fight asks him politely for their money back. I would suggest they tell Mr Watson how they have felt upon learning that their investment in his company did not 'weather the storms'. I would suggest they tell him about their sleepless nights, their need to return to work to top up their retirement savings, their non-existent private medical care and the sick feeling in the pits of their stomachs upon learning Mr Watson was spending their money on a party in Istanbul. I would suggest that spectators at the next Warriors match stand to a man, woman and child and boo Mr Watson and Mr Hotchin. I would suggest that people shun Mr Watson and Mr Hanover from any social or business activity in this country. I would politely suggest that Mr Hotchin and Mr Watson stay in Istanbul after their party. Your view? Comments below please.