Richard Moore: Small guys suffer from big wigs' mess

By Richard Moore

3 comments


Let me put a question to you. If someone has your belongings in their possession, without your permission, and they refuse to let you have them, what do you call it?

I think most people would say theft.

And that's what is happening to building subcontractors who were working with the stricken Mainzeal company.

These poor guys - most of them smaller firms - have had their gear locked up by receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers who say they cannot have the equipment back until it is decided who owns what.

What this means is the subbies are triple munted by the receiver's actions.

Not only are they bottom of the pile when it comes to any payout for work already done for Mainzeal, but they have paid for the materials used in the construction and now they can't earn money because their tools are locked away.

In Auckland a company owed $300,000 went to reclaim its scaffolding from around one of the Mainzeal sites but was eventually stopped when a trespass notice was issued to the men.

Fancy being threatened with arrest just because you want to try to get your own property back, and claw back some of the massive losses you are about to suffer.

And this is happening at hundreds of sites around the country.

Those men and companies should be allowed to at least go in and retrieve their tools. Really, they should be able to take any unpaid for material from the sites as well.

I was talking to a businessman about the saga and he said of the subcontractors: "They're stuffed. The receivers will take everything and sell it all off. They don't care. It has happened before and will happen again."

Well, that doesn't make it right. Why should the small guys suffer, yet again, because the big wigs screwed it up.


***

What is it about people who don't seem to understand a dead animal is not just something you can pillage and plunder for your own benefit?

Last week a dead sperm whale washed up on Papamoa Beach and I went down to photograph it.

While I was there a young bloke - early 20s and old enough to know better - started wiggling the teeth of the dead creature.

He was clearly looking to find a wobbly one he could pull out and keep as a trophy of the occasion.

I said he should leave the whale alone, but he continued his quest with no regard for decency or giving a dead animal a bit of respect.

It was only under the orders of a DoC ranger that he paused, but still tried the "oh, come on mate" line in a bid to get his way.

Thankfully the ranger stood firm and the drongo eventually left.

***

Now here is a shining example of wonderful Kiwi motherhood.

The other week a group of young teens were staying over at a mate's place.

There were four of them and, after midnight on a Saturday, they decided to go out for a run around Papamoa Beach.

Our always-on-the-ball Papamoa police saw the young group - who were not doing anything wrong - and thought they would be better off at home at that hour.

They duly dropped them at their various houses getting a somewhat surprised reaction from most of the parents who thought they would have been tucked up in bed at the friend's home.

It was later discovered the host mother was not only not at home - she wasn't even in the city. She had gone off to stay in Hamilton leaving the lads at home.

It gets better readers. She left the 14-year-old son and his three 13-year-old friends in charge of her 4-year-old.

What can you say ... that's legally publishable?

***

I so love the interweb.

The other day I was checking out a story on a major newspaper website when I spotted something that had me guffawing with rather sordid laughter.

There was an advert for KiwiBank saying it was backing a new kind of Kiwiness and was sponsoring the New Zealander of the Year awards. As part of the ad it had an oven opening and a burnt, smoking pavlova in the oven.

Directly under it was the following text in an article: "Here's a video of Sir Paul Holmes leaving Mana Estate in Hawke's Bay for the final time."

I'm pretty sure Holmes would have seen the funny side, too.

richard@richardmoore.com

- Bay of Plenty Times

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