Opinion: Why the NZ Herald's hounding of Mark Hotchin should be welcomed and he should get no sympathy

Opinion: Why the NZ Herald's hounding of Mark Hotchin should be welcomed and he should get no sympathy

Mark Hotchin talking to NZ Herald reporter Andrew Koubaridis and photographer Brett Phibbs.

By Bernard Hickey

In olden times the mob would deliver justice via the guillotine and celebrate the deed by parading the guilty's disconnected head around on a pike.

Now we live in a much more civilised time.

Now we ultimately rely on the authorities and the justice system to satiate the demand for redress.

In the event the public doesn't feel justice is being done, or there's a delay, it relies on the ability of the media to expose and embarrass.

In New Zealand there has certainly been a delay, at best, in justice being seen to be done on the issue of finance company collapses.

Our Deep Freeze list at Interest.co.nz of all the 62 finance companies and investment trusts that been been frozen or collapsed in the last four years shows that more than 200,000 account holders have more than NZ$8.575 billion frozen or lost in these companies and trusts. We estimate losses at around NZ$3.1 billion and counting.

I remember the evening four and a half years ago when National Finance 2000 was put into receivership. I edited a report from Denise McNabb, which was published on Stuff and The Independent  that night. Denise was also first to report the demise of Bridgecorp a year later. I had been expecting finance companies to start collapsing and had warned in 2005 that this was possible, but even I have been surprised at the depth and speed of the collapse of an entire sector. The excesses, greed and recklessness have been stunning.

But after four and a half years of these collapses, not a single finance company executive has spent a single night behind bars. John Gray, the former accountant for National Finance 2000, has been sentenced to 18 months jail for theft, but is out on bail appealing the sentence. He wants home detention.

Various prosecutions are still grinding their way through the legal system and the Serious Fraud Office has set a furious pace in recent months, announcing investigations and charges almost daily. Adam Feeley appears to have transformed the activities of the SFO.

Yet no one has actually spent time in a locked room with a 'real' criminal for company yet.

Evidence of abuses, deceptions, sharp practice and outright fraud have been widespread. Details about endemic related party dealings, capitalising loans, rampant over-valuations and money-go-rounds are now legendary.

This is why the public is angry and why the New Zealand Herald's front page treatment of Hanover Finance shareholder and director Mark Hotchin has proved so popular.

The NZ Herald sent a reporter and a photographer to the Gold Coast to find out what Hotchin's lifestyle was like and ask him about the Securities Commission's decision to freeze his assets, or at least the ones it could see in New Zealand.

The picture of a sneering, snarling Hotchin telling them to leave him alone will, I hope, been seen as the photo of the year. It captures the man perfectly.

Hotchin spent large parts of 2005, 2006 and 2007 trying to stop reporters from publishing articles critical of his company. His legal threats and bullying against media who tried to report his affairs was legendary. On the whole, those threats were effective.

Over 13,000 investors lent over NZ$465 million to Hanover, thanks to widespread marketing and interest rates slightly higher than bank interest rates.

Now those investors are ruined. They have received back 6 cents in the dollar and will be lucky to get much more, now they have swapped their debentures for nearly-worthless shares in Allied Farmers.

The numbers are easy to republish. The stories behind those numbers are gut wrenching.

I have dozens of emails from devastated investors. I have spoken to many. First they were trusting. Then they were incredulous. Now they are furious. This event has ruined the financial lives of thousands of people. It has torn families apart. It has driven people to suicide. It has destroyed retirement plans.

Parents who hoped to pass on the money to their children have been thwarted. Money for much needed medical treatement is gone. Long dreamed of trips to spend time with grandchildren are gone.

No wonder people welcome the inconvenience and embarassment being visited on Mr Hotchin by a reporter and a photographer.

It is the least he should receive.

He should be a social outcast in his own country. The fact he has moved with his family to the Gold Coast suggest that may already have happened. Hotchin and his business partner Eric Watson should be booed by the crowd at Ericcson stadium if he ever dares to return home to watch the Warriors play on home turf.

Meanwhile the wheels of justice turn, albeit slowly. The unprecedented decision by the Securities Commission to freeze Hotchin's assets is welcome. As is the Serioud Fraud investigation into his affairs.

Some observers, including media personality Kate Hawkesby (via twitter) have questioned the NZ Herald's reports.

I dont know Mark Hotchin from a bar of soap but how is it journalism to chase people, get them pissed off, then report it on the front page?  

The media's role is to challenge the powerful, report on their actions and reflect the mood of its community.  The New Zealand Herald understands the mood of the community on this one -- perfectly. It is one of frustration, anger and barely suppressed vengeance. Ironically, one of the justifications for the defence of Allan Hubbard has been the lack of action (until a few weeks ago) against Hotchin.

A picture on a newspaper front page is far preferable to what would have happened centuries ago. Whether Kate likes it or not, the media's role is to name and shame and hold the powerful to account. This is one way of doing it.

But ultimately, the best result will be justice done and seen to be done in the courts.

I agree with Hotchin there.

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It's great to see that Hotchins can count on the Parnell cafe set to defend him.

I think you have the wrong P. Doesn't she live in Ponsonby?

A printable deck of cards?

If Mark Hotchin is the Ace of Heart(les)s, then Fay & Richwhite are the Aces of Spades.

In olden times the mob would deliver justice via the guillotine and celebrate the deed by parading the guilty's disconnected head around on a pike.

Ah, the good old days! Tis a pity that such delights have been lost to us in these modern times! I totally agree with your sentiments, Bernard. In fact our treatment of corporate crooks, liars, thieves and cheats in New Zealand has all the hallmarks of a riled group of 19th century English gentlewomen expressing their disapproval of a visiting vicar’s racy speech.  Bernie Madoff was assaulted by a mob, and I distinctly remember pink slips (you’re fired) been thrust into the face of Richard Fuld, the former CEO of Lehman Brothers, after he testified in Congress or wherever it was, by protestors expressing their views on him. In fact I note in the case of Fuld, he was awarded (according to Wikipedia):-

the "Lex Overpaid CEO" and "thief" award of the Financial Times for having received $34m in 2007 and $40.5m in 2006, the last two years before his bank's failure, in December 2008.

CNBC named Fuld at the top of its list of "Worst American CEOs of All Time", stating he is "belligerent and unrepentant".

CNN named Fuld as one of the "Ten Most Wanted: Culprits of the Collapse" of the 2008 financial collapse in the United States; he was placed at number 9 on the list.

So yes our treatment of Hotchin and others of his ilk is pretty weak. By the way, is this an ok place to say that my nickname for Kate Hawkesby is Dunny Brush? Why? Because when she used to read the news on TV her hair style poked out like the bristles on a toilet brush. So dunny brush was born!

Yes.. olden times...  when life was best described as nasty, brutish and short...

Don't forget that Rob Pretrescivic was done over at a restaurant in St Heliers by some patrons...

Hotchin is an odious person...  but the Herald doesn't need to delve into trivial irrelevance to make a report - so a guy cleaned the pool.... big deal.


Rob who?  Petricevich surely

hotchin is fair game however reference to his wife or children is morally reprehensible.  

It's not surprising that Hotchin tries to hide behind his family. He did it with the Hell Pizza ads, he's doing it now.

I'm not sure why people think that it's okay for family members benefit from daddy's immorality - that the family is somehow entitled to an old fool's retirement money because it's actually someone else doing the taking.

Do you think that it's okay that the wives and kids of  the Mongrel Mob get to benefit from their flat screen TVs and X-boxes that were burgled (from other kids) by dad?

It's not.

Hotchin's wife is just as culpable as Hotchin for lavishly spending all that money they conned. His kids are spoilt brats - and, like most spoilt rich kids, they'll join "a band" and "go travelling" as their career - financed by the inheritance taken from a more needy family.

A significant charity was ripped off not too long ago. Fortunately the culprit is behind bars for a little while. But guess how much fun her offspring is having overseas with a lump sum of cash given before the shit hit the fan?

If you ask me, the only thing morally reprehensible is that families are not held accountable.

(BTW, my above comment had two words understandably censored due to an inflammatory comment I made about MH's personality. I apologise for exposing interest.co.nz to possible libel, and in future will reserve the word for describing people like Patrick Bateman)

Anyway, the reason I'm replying to myself...

How could I forget this quote!

"We don't have to justify where we get our money or what it's spent on, to anyone." - Amanda Hotchin

Utterly morally reprehensible.

Well Bernard, perhaps that is your last populist dance for the year. But let me remind you that Hotchin has not done anything wrong under the law as far as I know (correct me if I'm wrong) and has at least fronted to the public. Where were Hotchin's detractors when they "weren't making any more land" and the village idiot was making a fortune from property? Where was the govt warning people about the potential risks of a property bubble? Where was the criticism of the banks larging it up on wholesale funding? Yes, Hotchin is an easy target as a "made guy" (pun intended), but the problems run much deeper than the actions of one man. 

I strongly disagree Bernard.

The Herald has well and truly lowered itself to the gutter. I thought it was a shameless piece of journalism. This in no way is to defend Hotchin.

But I really think honorable newspaper journalism in NZ finally carked it today. 

A lot of people said the same about the activities of Woodward and Bernstein.

My word that is a cracker piece of writing - congratulations - the  first piece I have seen that expresses the depth of feeling of those who have lost everything to these parasites and thieves.

Compared to what this lot have done the great train robbery was pinching the milk money.

Yet these people are still waltzing around spending other peoples money as rapidly as possible.

If it wasn't for the inadequacy of the laws in NZ (or perhaps the ineffectual way they are administered here) then they would surely all have been in cells for a long time now.


Actually, Kim Jong, in the absence of any charges yet, you and your mates above are all the mob sitting watching the heads fall from the guillotine: if you're wondering where you're sitting on posts like this, well, it's in the gutter, isn't it. I name thee, tabloid, lowest of the low.  In fact, scum, states the case pretty well.

My thoughts here:


And here:





I have read your comments on your blog and I think that you are are somewhat misguided. You believe that finance company failures are a result of "regulation", which I personally think is a minor consideration. The real underlying problem here is popular delusion and crowd madness. Hotchin and co misread the psychology and probably deluded themselves into believing that the party was going to become a perpetual phenomenon. Both Hanover and SCF were Ponzi schemes run under an illusion of prudent decision making. In fact, the reality was that both companies were unsustainable without ever-increasing amounts of debt, increasing valuations, and a steady stream of punters.  

Too kind, J.C.  Plain and simple - the individuals in charge were corrupt - just like Madoff - they were conmen making an illegal buck and expecting never to get caught.

And just like Alan Greenspan who actually believed that low interest rates and credit bubbles could be managed for the greater good? No, despite the blatant greed and egotism on display, I tend to side with Nassim Taleb in that the over-riding issue witnessed over the last 3 years is the misunderstanding of risk. The environment and prevailing attitudes simply provided a backdrop that villains such as Madoff could operate in without suspicion. Hotchin deserves to be left alone until his innocence is proven otherwise. Yes that'll be unpopular with those baying for blood. 

Furthermore, I find it hard to believe that there wasn't a significant number in NZ who could see through all the bullshit early on. The risks were being discussed on Daily Reckoning mailing lists and prominent analysts such as Christopher Wood of CLSA were making noises about NZ in particular. Even among finance "professionals," I used to feel like a fringe protestor if I tried to engage these ideas. I guess the institution cultivates a certain way to think about the world.


Many thanks for my new name. Wasn't keen on Kim Jong Hickey. Much prefer Scum and lowest of the low.

Suggest you have a look at this piece I wrote here on June 26, 2008 about the Five Survivability Factors for Finance Companies. This was before Hanover and Strategic (and South Canterbury) collapsed.


Welcome your thoughts after that on my tabloid-ness. I'm guessing even a naked lady wouldn't have made this sell a lot of newspapers.

Loving your comment action though. And the page impressions it generates...




Well, I'll admit with the hair thing you've got going on, Kim Jong doesn't work 'quite' so well anymore.

But since when did journalism become vigilantism?

The NZ Herald, especially, have damaged their reputation over this. Sleezy.

Absolutely he should be hounded, I can't believe how sweet he's had it up to now.

Funny how these guys always seem to get all sour grapes with NZ in general after this sort of thing, what the hell do they expect people to think about them, they've lost peoples life savings.
They are the losers that have gone and screwed people over, and if they hadn't done that no one would care less about him.
He's a loser on a massive scale.

Many of us knew that these guys were scam artists, cheaters and just beancounters shuffling figures to make it look good, not be good. At least I would have loved to expose them before it all collapsed, but I could not. They were, and still are, well protected by defamation laws and court suppression orders. These protection measures for the white colour criminals just must go. What about Wikileaks for finance. Such scam artist and white colour criminals are still working, cheating people out of their savings, but we can not, are not allowed, to expose them.

And here's the latest installment from the NZHerald on Hotchin.

Former Hanover Finance boss Mark Hotchin wants a $7000-a-week allowance to maintain his lifestyle on Australia's Gold Coast.

The Securities Commission gave the Hanover co-founder a $1000-a-week allowance after freezing his New Zealand assets.

But that's not enough for Mr Hotchin, and the Heraldunderstands he has sought to increase that limit to between $6000 and $7000 so he can pay for rent, living costs, a hire car, and private school fees for three children.



There are countless investors who cannot pay for the standard iof living they worked so damn hard to get.  They cannot buy there grandchildren a christmas present, let alone help pay for school fees, and they are driving cars they would prefer not to drive, having repair bills and servicing on cars they anticipated they would have replaced on money that is now long gone.

Mark Hotchin - come and live in the world you helped create for many New Zealanders.

Pure schadanfreude Bernard.  As with your vitroil against Allan Hubbard it seems to be based on previous slights against you as a journalist and an urge to tell us all that you told us so.

I have no sympathy for Hotchin but the reality is that he has been charged with no crime and the action against him in freezing his assets is no more than a SC/Govt publicity stunt aimed to show their detractors that it was not sitting idly by in not taking any action aginst these people while putting an old man into statutory management.  At least the actions against Hotchin appear to be legal but one has to question the fairness of that law. As mentioned previously it is very effective and limits both Hotchin and Hubbard's right to natural justice i.e. inablility to pay for legal representation although I do note that this does not seem to be a issue for Mr Hotchin at this time.

I guess everyone needs to ask themselves if this happened to them would they be so supportive of the Governmnet's actions?

It's karma of a sort. I'm sure Hotchin and his mates would set a lot more than a Herald cameraman onto people who owed his company a few thousand dollars.

I'm mystified as to how Eric Watson has escaped the anger of madding crowds.  New Zealand's poster boy cuckold leans into a camera frame and has the noble victim profile that still makes women sigh and men square their shoulders in pride.   (I know he wasn't a director.)  Hotchin, on the other hand suits nicely as the cad.  MSM in New Zealand has become tabloid in framing winners and losers.

Don't let up Bernard and don't worry about those hiding behind the'he hasn't been charged with anything' line.

I don't trust our justice system anyway.

We don't need charges to know that the behaviour behind these finance companies was criminal in nature.

The trouble is that he may technically be within the law, but that doesn't change the fact that his (and others) were criminal. 

They hind behind the limited liability of company structure, a facility designed to encourage well considered risk in the pursuit of business. Sadly this institution has become a means of hiding excessive risk and fraudulent behaviour, while at the same time diverting assets into areas to evade the consequences of that behaviour. 

Hotchin's assets should be permanently seized unless he can demonstrate that his business practices were normal and prudent. Probably a difficult ask given that commentary was being made regarding the likelihood of failures in the sector. 

The laws around limited liability need to be changed so that the onus comes back onto the directors behaviour. Unless this is changed then in a generation the same thing will happen again, because the last lot has faded from peoples memory.

But just because the system is broken, we don't have to forgive those that have taken advantage of it, to the detriment of others. It is downright theft and fraud and shouldn't been seen any other way.

I just hope that we don't let up on Hotchin, but I also hope that the focus on him doesn't allow the behaviour of others to slide under the radar.

I think you are right when you say you wouldnt trust the justice system which all too often is set to preserve its own.  So playing this out in the courts isnt necessarily going to give the justice that many people want/need.  And thats why this article and the Heralds work is so important and right.  Just because they may not technically have broken the law, what about the morality of it?

It should be appreciated that in the wake of the SFC debacle there is now  a greater desire on the part of the SFO and other organisations to target (correctly I might add) persons involved in dubious financial practices that were at one time par for the course in the wild west......where shell after shell after shell would be peeled away and yet no bug for stomping to be found at it's centre.

I would like to think the SYSTEM is seeking Justice on behalf of the people....but I have become cynical over the years and know there is a difference between being ...seen...to seek justice and exacting justice.

Post Tranzrail and the Winebox the filthy stench still lingers from the two that got away...(Sir if you please)where they shoved so much legal muscle up the SFO's ass that the investigation simply could not afford to continue........and folded....................you just can't fix that  can you.

Question .........is anything different now.....only that the SFO will target what is perceived as winnable causes on a given budget and even then they will have to ultimately prove......

                                                                     Intent to Defraud.

and so any Justice sought to satisfy the public's anguish will become little more than a commercial exercise in itself.

Change the laws that govern the regulations through clarification and simplicity...plug the holes that you can presently drive a convoy through.

As I said the other day ....Give me a Rope and a Posse ..I've seen enough....and may his God show him the mercy he clearly held for others.

Hotchin may be an asshole....butt...he's just one more asshole at a shit fest..(a Medieval occasion where the gentry would seek contributions from the peasants and reward them with a liberal dousing of faecal material).........................no doubt hung out to dry by inconvenienced fellow  assholes who were probably patting him on the back 12 months ago.

AS to the Herald's  performance..............strictly tabloid... can't wait for the titties on page three.....and probably did more to reinforce Hotchin's sense of "The classes" than highlight Journalistic work ethic. 

FYI here's a  piece we published here at Interest.co.nz on June 26, 2008 on the Five Survivability Factors for Finance companies.


Hanover had none. South Canterbury Finance had them all.

By early 2009 SCF had lost them all.




No argument there Bernard....you would need to read my post in it's entirety .

I think you guys forgot the most important survivability factor - quality lending. SCF were lending almost on a charity basis ('I see you can't possibly make the repayments but you look like a nice guy so here's some money') and were often 2nd or 3rd in line for any assets.

Its amazing how many 100% losses were made by finance companies after a 10% drop in property values!!

Point taken...Jimbo..perhaps an over simplification but some truth in it....you just can't play Santa with "other peoples money"..................... we might need to remind Billy Bob n Co..of that before long.

Fair comment Jimbo.

Unfortunately the accounts didn't give much detail on quality of lending. And Hanover wouldn't roll over and tell us at the time.

And we failed to ask the right questions and do enough digging.

Another lesson that scepticism is a virtue.

Yet still people think I'm too negative.



Bernard there is no point in scrutinizing from your journalistic standpoint ,without a good dose of scepticism ....without a reasoned amount of cynicism....and if you smell fear....then it is for you to investigate and comment on as part of your service......

Your doing just fine matey.............stay with the horse. 

The only thing missing from this demonising, rabble rousing series of posts is Madame Defarge knitting away at the bottom of the gulliotine !

Hotchin is a wanker and a slippery bastard but he's only one of many...we need to be a bit more stylish about all this crap than reducing ourselves down to the same levels of he and his ilk.

The courts will sort him and i agree with Kate Hawkesby's comment in Bernard's setup piece above...(and i don't go for Hawkesby and her glove  puppet, Mike Hosking but in this case she's right!)

that Robo was my point ...He is just one of many....The "LAW" governing the regulations should also stand trial.

So because he was just one of many we should let it go?  What about setting an example?  Someone does you over and are you going to think oh well, hes just one of many let it go.  No you stand up and you fight it and you make an example of them.  And the purpose is to make sure it doesnt happen again.  And thats whats trying to be done here.

No Cleo not at all ...please do take the time to read my post above this for Clarification on what I think............ see post at 9.28 am. ta much.

Fair.  And true.  The law being on trial would be part of making sure it doesnt happen again.  But then thats not really reality is it !

As for the SFO - who was it who commented that chasing Alan Hubbard and making an example of him was the equivalent of butchering the pet labrador while letting the pitbulls go?

Well it wasn't me Cleo and I'd love to see the post ...so's I'd have to eat some donkey shit.

What I said initially was that Bernard's position at the time was reminiscent   of  a Boxer standing over his fallen opponent long after he had been counted out.

And I said to Bernard something like "don't linger too long in the centre of the ring....bla bla bla. 

just an added thought Cleo....if you want to make sure it has less chance of happening again then join me in wanting the "Laws' governing the regulation to be on trial in order for Clarity... Simplicity ..and enforceable penalties without mitigation once guilt of intent or other has been proven.



Yeah Ok lets start with Hotchkin and add a few more on to the list.

Someone has to be the guinea pig.

Put him in a state house in a street where lots of mobsters live,

Christov you are so on the money when you raise it as a limitation for any investigation.

That is why I am concerned that many of these won't spend time in prison, and if they do it will only be a short stay.

Heck imagine if the court had to hear all the victim impact statements. 

So are you..a mental ponzi...all going in one side and nothing coming out the other side ?!

Crikey..Rob.O. your a stirrer... I don't  think Gerald was quite awake when it was keyed.

 Stuff reports Five Star Finance director Anthony Bowden has been sentenced to 9 months home detention and 300 hours community service for Securities Act charges that carried a maximum sentence of 5 years jail.


So 9 months home detention means he is allowed to sit in his house,smoke dope,drink booze,shag the mistress,get home pizza deliveries and watch sky tv.

What happened to carting rocks from one end of the prison yard to the other end,and then repeating the process.

i thing gerald above is Wolly back under a different name..same old blather,different day !

nah don't think so Robo the caps fixation is faked but has it's origins in someone who ...Likes... to make a point with them........ and Gerald may well be Tull's bad little boy on "Thick as a Brick."

maybe give him an " Aqualung" and throw him overboard CS? 

as you grab your rattling last breath 

with a deep sea divers sound

and the flowers bloom like madness in the spring.


yes indeed.

Good point Gerald...Merry Christmas and Peace upon all Men.

i want some figgy pudding and i won't go until i've got some !

it'll only give you the squirts Rob O you've already made comment of the day ...both editor and reader....and upset Gerald....all in all you've had a great big day my man. happiness.

Hotchins is a corrupt human being no doubt.  I'm sure the courts in due course will find him to be a criminal.  Until then, hes' innocent until proven guilty right?....unfortunately.

British Privy Council (Proprietary Articles Trade Assn. v. Canada) used these words:

 "Criminal law connotes only the quality of such acts or omissions as are prohibited under appropriate penal provisions by authority of the state. The criminal quality of an act cannot be discerned by intuition; nor can it be discovered by reference to any standard but one: Is the Act prohibited with penal consequences? 

Morality and criminality are far from co-extensive; nor is the sphere of criminality necessarily part of a more extensive field covered by morality -- unless the moral code necessarily disapproves all acts prohibited by the state, in which case the argument moves in a circle. It appears to their Lordships to be of little value to seek to confine crimes to a category of acts which by their very nature belong to the domain of "criminal jurisprudence;" for the domain of criminal jurisprudence can only be ascertained by examining what acts at any particular period are declared by the state to be crimes, and the only common nature they will be found to possess is that they are prohibited by the state and that those who commit them are punished."





Well written comment Bernard, Hotchin was corrupt and headed a giant ponzi scheme.

The pity of this, he may escape any worthwhile sentence, yet so many of the investors are ruined for life.

SCF and Hubbard,  great investments in 2nd mortgages to Seropisos properties and over inflated valuations on lending to Dairy Holdings & Co, more a gullable old fogey than anything else.

I am not a fan of some of the contributors to the nz herald but the fervour with which they have hunted and hounded Hotchin  must surely give the investors some small satisfaction.

Keep up the good work  Bernard  and ignore your critics.

hey come on there Gerald see my post of 9.28 am for comment.......the rest I'll grant you is banter...but lighten up dude...it's Christmas remember.

just in case you misunderstood...as you grab your rattling last breath ...etc was for Rob I was quoting Aqualung...Jethro Tull...............I'm a wee bit of a train spotter you see....so I'm gonna let this one slide for now.

happiness to you Gerald. and ease up  on the she thing.

p.s. Gerald was a bad little boy on Tull's thick as a Brick Album ..hope that helps you somehow.

Tsk Task, Christ-stove..I did you warn you that Gerald was a nutter and now what do we have here?...aspersions upon your sexuality and a classic case of rabies!

p.s wanna borrow a slinky lil off the shoulder number for when you go out trawling on friday night ?

I'll pass on your wardrobe offer there Rob O  much as a flick through your Glassons line up would impress me...........................but I can help you out with who that probably is.

 He leaves a give away more often than not........

pray tell me a clue?

Well Jethro Tull is playing in Australasia next Easter.

No doubt you will be there.

yep...they're at the Byron Bay Blues Festival..always a good rave..elvis costello there and lotsa other good names...most tkts are sold out though.

google byron bay echo for details

“White Collars Crime” isn't really bad – there wasn’t any blood involved like here:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10695682 - this is real bad - or stealing someone’s treasures  :



This geezer has been convicted 166 times, 54 for burglary.  Sentenced to 5 years for burgarly and out in 12 months...and then does a runner.  I should have stopped and asked to the 3 plastic policemen hiding in the bushes pointing a radar gun at me in a 70km zone why they weren't out looking for this guy.  Maybe its because he doesn't generate any revenue.


Well pointed out.Ging.........there are strains placed upon front line policing  because far too many of them are employed as Revenuers ..........and that may be a direct by-product of the lowering of induction standards over the last 25 years.

That said there are still many many good men and women out there doing the best they can while poorly written legislation often only serves to leave them wondering .........why they didn't become Revenuers.

Your right, still plenty of goodies doing a fine job.  It's the dumb arses they let in that worries me...and they want to give them guns!  Bring up the entry standard, pay them more, train them better and then I don't have as much an issue with it.  Until then, they should only be pointing radar guns in my direction. 


I see where Hotchin is currently in the High Court, well his reps are, seeking an increase in allowance.  This is clearly where he has an advantage over Hubbard - the seizure of his assets was approved by a high court judge who would have had to take various matters into account as she will in regards to the allowance.  Hubbard by constrast was put into statutory management by bureaucrats rubber stamped by politicians (or possibly the other way round) and is at the complete mercy of the statutory managers who are answerable to no one.

You have your head screwed on mate.

Tell it like it is.

It is the truth.

Post Muldoon,NZ has turned into a world where if you ain't smart,someone will rip you off.

Including politicans of course.

Easy on there ,crazy man...don't be encouraging Bernard to go start exposing more..we need him here..not down the park!

His worst crime by far is his complete lack of taste.  To spend $30M on a house and end up with something that looks like a gigantic spec builders tract house is morally outrageous.

With that sort of budget it should be a criminal offence not to build something really cool, especially when building with dubiously obtained funds.

Even  the guillotined French aristocracy knew how to build cool houses, rather than just building giant sized peasant hovels with gold plated fittings and present wrapping rooms.    

Yes it is a pile of crap isn't it....the neighbours must be so pleased...people will be looking forward to their properties collapsing in value and their rates being cut in half.....by the way those Froggy aristocrats left out the dunnies...not a single bog in the palaces....that's why they had so many of those insanely large vases in every room.

Wolly they had poop chairs, the contents of the  hidden chamber pot went out the window. The 18th century equivalent to a Hanover investor would be passing outside ...the  peasant  got to wear it, as they waited outside for a bit of the trickle down wealth. The peasant turns revolutionary and the rest is history. Amanda Hotchin as a standin  for Marie Antoinette, you couldn't make this up

A few months holiday!....in the States they would have received 20 years.....They will be back rorting within 5 years...count on it...

If so, you can guarantee there will be another wave of stupid investing their hard earned cash with them - greed is a wonderful thing. 


Mark can't take his mercedes or porsche to Aussie - http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/4480952/Hotchin-fails-in-court-bid

Yes, you wonder whether he is taking the proverbial or whether he is seriously out of touch. I suspect the former...

No it is not immoral.

She didn't have marry him.

She doesn't have to stay there.

She could have booted him for touch,sold her half share of the assets and given it to the ripped off investors.

Just because she is female doesn't mean she is a nun.

Birds of a feather flock together.

Like father like son.


i thin gerald is related to PANTS DOWN..they both have a fascination for " caps LocK"

Close but no cigar yet ...Rob O............see you tomorrow.

I've started a Wikipedia article about him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Hotchin

I don't have to write for a living, so it's pretty poor copy, and very incomplete. To be honest, I got a bit sick/bored of writing it!

Does anyone have photos that they took of the Greed Hell billboard that they'd be happy to licence to Wikipedia? I think it'd look great on Wiki.

If anyone can be bothered to edit it, please nothing defamatory, nothing unproved, everything referenced with a newspaper or other reliable source! Haha.

Most of the Byron Bay Bluesfest tickets are not sold out.

The Monday tickets and the Saturday/Sunday/Monday tickets are all sold because Bob Dylan is closing Monday,undoubtedly up against Jethro Tull in the two largest tents.

Costello will be on before Dylan in the main tent on the Monday.

There are lots of five day tickets left.

I've been every year since 2004 and there has only been one year when it sold out.

But I still could have flown over,walked down the main street,and found notices selling tickets.

Or bought one at the gate.

Jethro Tull in Australia 2011

April 25th Byron bay bluesfest

April 26th State theatre Sydney

april 27th State theatre sydney

April 28th Palais Theatre melbourne.

don't bogart that joint red dog!

The website is www.bluesfest.com.au

It is Australasia's best music festival.

Not too much dope getting smoked there since it moved from Red Devil Park.

I have been told that NSW has 16 sniffer dogs.

This year the black labradors were very active,including looking in peoples' cars when they were stopped waiting to get in the carpark.

The police plus muttley were handily positioned when you walked in the entrance.

And the police were standing outside buses until they spotted someone suspiciously hiding their stash under a seat.

Then they sent the doggy into the bus.

Probably safer to eat a cookie.

In regard to alcohol,the big joke was that respectable looking people were bring director's chairs in with a couple of bottles of spirits hidden in softdrink bottles,inside the folded up chairs,while the officials were only searching bags.

Then they went into the toilets,mixed up their drinks,proceeeded to sit down and get legless.

Black labs don't seem to go looking for spirits.

I owe you an apology Rob of the north.

The 5 day tickets have sold out this week.

Must be Bob Dylan.

Mind you,with a capacity of only 20,000 per day including staff,it is quite elite in numbers.

BIg Day Out in Aukland must be well in excess of 30,000.

Ken Barlow! My wife will love that little insult.



I was interested to watch that 8 minute clip of the meeting in Auckland where Hotchkin addressed the angry audience.

One investor went over to him and  said "You greedy bugger"

Hotchkin replied "Fair comment."

Why doesn't Hotchkin down grade his Aussie mansion,and invest the rest to pay his living costs.

Some Hanover investors could form a company and borrow the money from him.

They could invest it in something that just happens to go broke.

Then Hotchkin could not be paid back.

Sob Sob.

This week Bernard Hickey made the subtle observation that the sudden action on Hotchin had probably been triggered by the repeated PUBLIC complaints comparing the imbalance in pressure applied to SCF and Hubbard versus that applied to Hanover finance, Hotchin, and Watson. A Google search of the story of the "House of Hanover" produces an interesting 2002 article by Deborah Hill Cone which raised many questions which in turn detailed all of the travails that has befallen both Hubbard/SCF and the House of Hanover. But the question is, why did it take so long. Is it a belated search for justice, or is it just a p*ssing contest between Diplock and Feeley? One obvious possibility is it's the likely outcome of the increasing power of the New Media such as Vaughan/Hickey/Tarrant. The important message is the need to MAINTAIN the RAGE. You have the power of the many against the few. On a different note. KordaMentha, in their capacity as Statutory Managers, stated in their latest report that the books, accounts, and records maintained by Hubbard are incomplete and inadequate. Which is what brought May Wang undone. Somehwere, in another place, Red Dog commented that Hubbard had 500 companies. (all with incomplete records?). A review of Hill-Cone's 2002 piece and you wonder whats different. Private conglomerates exploit the benefit of not having to produce consolidated accounts, which in turn enable related-party round-robin money-shuffling asset-shifting transactions. And Hill-Cone identified that in 2002. Nowadays, the message gets lost in the 24 hour news cycle.

OK  Im trying to figure this out

Hotchkin  has been limitted to A grand a week, he has 7 dependants.

If he is limited to a grand a week, how come he is still living in a lavish manner and not like a working class family in Mangere?

Which now gives rise to is a grand a week way too much?

Does he quailfy for the Aussie unemployment benfit?  do his dependants qualify? is that how he can still afford the lifestyle?

Are the Aussies looking into his activities over there?

Grand a week, seems our courts are being to generous, and still not taking into consideration the personal hardship (unable to have that operation, to retire in even a modest manner) of those left behind....yeah ok he hasnt been judged or convicted, but even at this stage of proceedings, a far more serious consideration by the courts to 'protect' what is left of those ripped off needs to be taken...or should have been.

Maybe he and those in similar postions in the future, should only quailfy for the grand a week IF they are in NZ... not in NZ, tuff bickies.


Hotchin has been appallingly treated by the authorities and by the media . Judged guilty , before a trial . Same as with Alan Hubbard in Timaru . Who the hell do they think they are , to freeze his assets , and dictate his weekly allowance . This is indicative of the police state that NZ is sliding into . We had a chilling taste of that in 2008 , when Helen clark enacted legislation to prevent political dissent , unless you were registered to do so .

Lest we forget , that in the financial companies debacle there were 4 guilty parties involved in each case :

1 : The promoters : Hotchin , Watson , Somers-Edgar , et al

2 : The investors : Gullible and greedy . So foolish to drop your commonsense into the trash can when you part with your life savings .

3 : The regulators : The securities commission particularly . Jane Diplock collected her generous salary , yet utterly failed in her duty . She slept through the whole debacle .

4 : The government : Michael Cullen allowed this to happen on his watch , and did nothing to tighen up the regulations , to protect investors' interests .

Gummy bear hero.

What about the rotten financial adviser's that took 90+ elderly's money so these FA's could get their commission? Money all lost. Where's the justice for these elderly? Some now passed on, other's in dire straights. Been a sad christmas for them.

Yes , that is true . But let's get back to the legislators . After the 1987 sharemarket crash most westernised countries tightened up on their regulations , but not New Zealand . Our governments are culpable , none having the guts to tackle the hard stuff . They want to appease the electors with mush 'like WFF and interest-free student loans .

NZ still has crap regulations . And useless folk overseeing them . I mentioned one , she is a fool and a disgrace , and very wealthy at our expense .

And since when did Kiwis develop this overwhelming gullibility ? Since decades of welfare statism addled their brains , and soften them up for the sharks of the financial world .

Nanny state has alot to answer for . Just what message does all the government bail-outs and guarantees send to the citizenry ?

The investors in Handover have been treated appallingly by that company's directors,who have taken money in from the public and have squandered it.

Despite this,Hotchin was constructing a multimillion dollar dwelling.

I regard this as immoral behaviour.

Money does not talk,it swears.

As for the investors,when you have people who call themselves financial planners dumping large sums of investor funds into this company,prime time TV advertisements fronted by a media person who always came across as conservative,and a company name that creates the same atmosphere as Park Lane or Mayfair,coupled with a guillible and trusting public who are persuaded that they are lending to an entity who onlends on a land and buildings security,when you add to this the attitude of the directors,it is a recipe for disaster.

The investors were supposed to have a Trustee acting on their behalf.However,they appeared to have relied on statements put to them by management,without doing any investigative work.Their presence gave investors false confidence that there was a protector present.Their role turned out to be quite diferent to that of a trustee in a family trust.Who would employ these corporate trustees in the future ? I certainly would not.

The state inevitably is a giant which takes a monolithic time to react to anything.Look at the recent changes to eligibility for family support,student allowances and cs cards.This racket has ben going on for many years.Thus when it does react in due course,we do see action taken against the likes of H and H,which should have been taken much earlier against other players.

In regard to being charged guilty before a trial,why do those who are charged with an offence which requires a court appearance,not get name supression until they are found guilty,and permanant name supression if they are not.

If you have someone in the dock in a jury trial who is charged with an offence,and has previously been convicted of other such offences,why is the jury not permitted to know this.

Last year Hotchin borrowed funds from Westpac against his Waiheke Island property.The security is for $12 million plus interest.Assuming  provision for two years interest is included in the $12 million,he might have received $10 million in cash.

His mansion has no mortgage.Were the funds borrowed to assist in constructing this,or were they spirited elsewhere.

Last year he borrowed funds from BNZ against the 9 sections at Gulf Harbour.The security is for $2.993 plus interest.Assuming provision for two years interest is included in the $2.993 million,he might have received $2.5 million in cash.

What other funds have already been spirited offshore long before the shutters came down.I would suggest to you that a substantial amount of capital will already be out of NZ.These guys would have known what the state of play was,long before the penny dropped for the investors. Well before the official collapse .I told a number of people to get out of this company as there were some bad rumours coming out of Queenstown.For those who were tied up with two year debenture stock,it was not so easy.

You cannot judge a book by its cover.Just as Bryers is able to live in luxury,so are  Hotchin and Watson.When you see these boys living in a normal residence then you might be able to believe that they are broke.None of them have any conscience.

In regard to litigation against financial planners,and if you look at the average age of the investors at the Handover meeting in Auckland,my observation has been that a very large percentage have been reluctant to become embroiled in such action due to their age and the need to front up with legal fees.

If you were privy to the affairs of some of these planners,you would find that some settlements have in fact been made out of court.Those settlements would have been in order to protect reputation,as for such planners,droves of clients will have already moved out the door and licked their wounds,discussed their losses with relations and friends,but have not litigated.Those who have,will have been bought off.Even if they get to court,it is up to the local media as to what the choose to print.I was recently in court giving evidence in a non reported civil case,in the next court two prominent real estate agents were litigating with a disgruntled client....I stumbled upon this because they left the court to discuss tactics with their lawyer and I was outside the next court.In the third court were all the usuals complete with 12 of the local lawyers,having their court days set.The latter was the only court hearing reported the next day.


If you trust crooks .......... Guys who have form , such as Petricevic .......... And don't do your own research ............. But allow luminaries of the financial world such as Richard Long , or Sir Colin Meads to sway your thinking ( " Solid as , I'd reckon " ) ........... And you seriously believe that investments touting a 12 or 14 % coupon rate are safe  ........... Then you have yourself to blame .

Financial markets have always fleeced the naive , the gullible , the foolish , the greedy .

And still no one turns the heat upon Jane Diplock , or upon Michael Cullen ! The media and the citizenry ignore their culpability .

I agree with your comments on Roddy.

Myself and my sharebroker continually joked about him all through the heady days of finance company investments.

Lots and lots of planners used Bridgecorp because they greased their palms well and were invited to Roddy's yacht during the America's Cup.

These planners like to think that they are professionals but they are not.

They are in sales,and when you are in commission based sales you think in a certain way.

Unfortunately some of those thoughts tend to be selfish,and in this regard it is the culture of the organisation you work for which moulds you to sell Brand Y or Investments A,B and C.

As for sports and media heroes,it is a fact that if you want to stand in a local body election and you are someone with such a background,and your opposition is a very capable person who does not have that background,you will beat them every time.That is how people think.

i was an investor in Provincial,not because of Colin Meads,but after a meeting with John Edilson one of the directors,on another matter.Provincial never paid me 12% to 14% interest.Though I must say that I was nervous in regard to the level of dividends being paid to the shareholders,It appeared to me that the investors were not being paid sufficiently for risk.

Handover I would never have invest in.The people at the top had too many toys.I invested in SCF because Hubbard did not appear to have lots of toys.

Diplock and Cullen are untouchable.

Yes , 50 or 100 years from now , our great-grand descendents will scratch their heads in wonder , looking at the ancient history financial tombs  , that Diplock and Cullen were untoucheable .............. Un-fecking-believeable !

some beach front property in australia--at the lower end of the goldie i think---looks nice!



Don't buy beachfront property .

When world sea levels rise it will be covered in water.

I stepped into the near sea level property market. I’m a Real Estate agent now. I’m the manager of “Sealevel Property Ltd” based in Whangaparaoa.


Our speciality converting houses into luxury boatsheds - ready for the RWC and the next AC.

My first house on the list:

This lovely property is for sale: no cutting lawns. NZ$ 825’000.- historic house converted into super luxury boatshed - near water level - with amazing ocean water views, sunny location, pool, washing machine, 4 bathrooms living and bedrooms upstairs, fishing/ diving on your doorstep, low maintenance not far from schools, shops golf etc. etc

Photo: http://www.bryanmaxx.netfirms.com/P1070346.JPG

Via email from a reader

An excellent article on Hotchin.

Hotchin and Watson et al are the poster children for a morally empty society that venerates material wealth over other values.

There simply must be justice of some kind for the people who invested and lost their life savings, even if it proves only to be the shame of appearing almost daily on the front page of the New Zealand Herald.


Via email from a reader


ok..so, I'm not a Mark Hotchin fan given the deplorable and frankly immoral, 'sharp-practice' that Hanover interests appear to have indulged in over the last few years. However, I am christian so I do hope that your readers have banded together at this festive time and recognized a family in need of a food parcel or two !! (tongue in cheek). I do hope that a parcel gets deposited onto his expensive Australian doorstep (and photographed there) given that he is likely to remain at his (luxurious) premises for a while. Sad to think that his trusty (Mercedes and Porsche) steads are unlikely to follow him over there ! Merry christmas Mark - we all follow your story with interest !  



From a reader via email.

Good morning Bernard,

I listen to Radio Live in the morning and hear your comments.

I think I’m a level headed kind of guy whose been around the commercial and business  world for a while.


I’m tired of hearing about these so called “mum and Dad” investors and even more so the “poor old couple” who put their hard earned savings into finance companies and have now lost all their money.


I can’t get over the fact that they must have made a conscious decision to invest in the first place…no one twisted their arm, no one held a gun to their head. They had the money and thought it was a good place to invest, simple as that. They saw a dollar.


Same as someone thinking a small business was a good investment, property, shares or just plain putting the money in the bank.


These bleaters somehow think that their money was somehow “safe”??? It’s all a risk and we make our investment decisions based on calculated risk..or should have.

I’m tired of people like yourself supporting their quest to have the people who started, owned or had shareholdings in the investment companies shot at dawn. Get over it. Even worse is to hear them say they want to see the finance company executives “suffer like we have”.


It’s business. You win some, you lose some.  This bullshit about these investors hardship is crap and I don’t buy into it.


Cheers Bernard, keep up the good work. Sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re quite wrong mate.


Many thanks.
I agree there should be an element of caveat emptor in all of this. I also agree there were some who knew they were taking a risk. I'm also not a fan of the government guarantee for those still around after October 8 2008. Their losses would be fair if they hadn't been lied to or misled.
But...there were directors and auditors and trustees who didn't tell those investors everything they should have or looked after the interests of debenture holders in the way they should have.

The problem too is that many investors feel misled and that their watchdogs didn't do their job.
While that perception remains they won't put their money into capital markets again. That hurts all those with legitimate capital raising needs.
So justice does need to be seen to be done.
We shouldn't just leave it.


Banks try to cover up fraud again:

Cambridge University professors discover that pin and chips on our credit- and debit cards, used by millions all over the world, are not safe. Check out the video.




Universal PIN  0000  ,eh! Reminds me of that computer error from the 80's, where the end date of many programmes was... 9/9/99...

“Banks try to cover up fraud again”. This is just the problem. Governments, officials, banks, investment accountants, and financial advisors are covering up information to lie, cheat and rip off the public, people like Ewen Me. At the same time those who could expose them as journalists and writers and film makers are threatened to silence by bullying and legal intimidation, as the Herald reports they were, for years. Just look at Wikileaks, we need more Wikileaks, lets call it Kiwileaks, and a place to publish information outside the New Zealand jurisdiction to avoid take down orders through courts and threats from the Attorney General (as with www.kiwisfirst), or business hi fliers as in the Siemer case. If we had that a lot of pensioners and ordinary people would still have their savings, instead of people like Hotchin living a luxury live overseas on those people’s savings. Let’s start to call all this by its right name, CORRUPTION.

In reply to the post at 2.09 pm,I do not know one single person who invested with Handover Finance off their own back.

However I know a considerable number who invested in that company through a financial planner.

This person is talking generalities rather than specifics.

Red Dog, I think you are very right there. These scams and corruption work via a combination of pyramid selling and networks. The financial planner get a fat commission for recommending just the best paying investment company, not the best investment. We who are writing about it know all about it, about the scams and the corruption, we have just not been allowed to write about it. I have myself been refused publication and had articles pulled off the web after the site and news paper owner got intimidated and threatened by such guys. The setup has been very successful, so far. Now when the lid is off, lets keep digging.

Vestar is the worst example of selfishness.For instance I never saw one Vestar portfolio with South Canterbury Finance in it.The reason for that was that SCF were not prepared to grease their palms sufficiently.I don't know how the legal actions against Vestar are going,but I know that the people who worked for this organisation have all got away unsinged,despite a complete lack of morality.The outfits who had an alliance to ING were also bad,as they tended to attach dodgy finance companies to a portfolio,including the likes of Handover and MFS Pacific Finance.Apart from the few private settlements which have been made,most investors seem to have taken it on the chin.

When is a Trustee Company not a Trustee ? The answer is that when it is a trustee for a finance company.In regard to these failed finance companies,if there were trustees in place acting as we would expect Trustees to act,the situation would not have panned out as it did.The trustees will tell you they relied on information from management.My reply to that is to do some procative investigative trustee work.If you are not comfortable with the terms of the trusteeship you are offered,don't take the job on.

I am not talking about people who have invested $10,000 or $20,000 with finance companies.The portfolios I have seen,which are numerous,range from $500,000 to $5 million.

Mate you can see classic examples of extreme selfishness everywhere you look!

Older people buying house after house even when they know it's pricing their kids and grandkids out of the market because they don't give a stuff about anyone but themselves and their consumer lifestyle. We hear so many people saying how they intend to spend all their money before they die and not leave anything to their kids except maybe debt. (And that includes spending whatever money they get from selling those houses!)

We see farmers polluting the environment to death and bugger anyone else because it's all about the farmers and their self interests. Anyone who expresses a concern is branded a greenie loser and a pinko socialist out to harm poor hard done by farmers and destroy the agriculture industry's profits. And they all resist any attempt by anyone to even discuss NZ becoming less dependent upon agriculture and develop more profitable and sustainable businesses and industries in NZ.

And we see the banks acting like mafia loan sharks giving huge mortgages to people they must have known weren't able to service them but everyone assumed that big capital gains were a law of nature and that losses were unthinkable. So many people were involved in those rorts besides the banks, like real estate people and of course the greedy and selfish buyers.

Speaking of selfish rorts, how about our very own "leaders" like Bill English and his accommodation allowance scam? The list of thieving pollies is so long I'm not even going to try to name them all here because I'm bound to miss a few out.

The most selfish thing is that everyone reading that list above will nod their heads in complete agreement until they get to the bit that describes themself and then they'll start roaring and gnashing their teeth and saying I'm totally wrong.

As a BB myself I totally agree with you Lucky Basket. It seems we don’t make real money – producing - just dealing with something. No wonder our economy is a mess – dictated by the rot.

Raging at the moon aint gonna do no good LB....take one teaspoon of Cod Liver oil and enjoy a brief moment without the nagging misery.

Some wealthy older people are investing in rental property because they see it as safer than money in a bank or other business and they can see the govt benefits on offer..the tax deductions and winz rent handouts. Don't go screaming at them LB....biff rocks at the Beehive windows.

Invest some time in staying and working on a farm LB...it will change your mind about most farmers.

The banks behave that way because they have govt and RB protection and supporting policies. Yes they are bastards but only because it pleases the govt and RB.

Did you enjoy Goofy's little trip...where he fell on his superannuation and got egg on his face.

I said:

"The most selfish thing is that everyone reading that list above will nod their heads in complete agreement until they get to the bit that describes themself and then they'll start roaring and gnashing their teeth and saying I'm totally wrong."

Then Wolly said:

"Blah blah poor greedy baby boomer PIs! Blah blah poor greedy polluting farmers!"

I rest my case.

(And PS Wolly -- I grew up on a NZ farm and left when I was in my 20s. I know NZ farms, farmers and farming.)

FYI from a reader via email.

Hi Bernard


I read your article re Hotchin et al with great interest and very much agree with your sentiments.

In particular;


“Hotchin and his business partner Eric Watson should be booed by the crowd at Mt Smart stadium if he ever dares to return home to watch the Warriors play on home turf.”


Question I have is, what about Greg Muir?


Many investors I’m sure relied upon his good name …..and in his position of Board Chairman.


I don’t understand why hard questions are not being asked of him. Apart from some disquiet expressed re possible re-election to the Pumpkin Patch board, almost nothing has been heard of Mr Muir, his role and his performance as an independent director. What for example, were his views when  he approved the massive dividend? What actions did he take to protect investor interests?


Instead he quietly resigned his position as Chairman and Director….and continues his “Mr Teflon” career.


Or am I missing something?