Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

'Enmity' blamed for bankrupt's setback

David Henderson.
David Henderson.

Christchurch businessman David Henderson says he is in the dark about why authorities are opposing his release from bankruptcy but senses it is "predicated on some degree of personal enmity".

A high-profile property developer whose battle with Inland Revenue spawned a book and a movie, Henderson was bankrupted for a second time in November 2010 with debts totalling more than $140 million.

Bankruptcies are managed by a Crown authority called the Official Assignee (OA) and normally last for three years.

But the national manager of the Government's Insolvency & Trustee Service, Robyn Cox, said the OA had lodged an objection to Henderson's release from bankruptcy.

"The effect of this is that Mr Henderson will remain an undischarged bankrupt until such time as he has undergone a public examination in the High Court and the court has made a decision under [the Insolvency Act] on the terms of Mr Henderson's discharge," Cox said.

The High Court examination involves a probe of a bankrupt's financial affairs and Cox said that no date had been set in Henderson's case.

Henderson said yesterday that he didn't know why the OA was opposing his discharge. "They [the assignee] have an obligation to give grounds and reasons and they haven't done so."

Although he wasn't aware of the exact reason, Henderson said he sensed it was "predicated on some degree of personal enmity".

"I guess a person like me is a high-profile target for them to try and give a clip around the ear, I don't know."

Bankrupts are unable to direct a company and are not allowed to manage a business without the OA's consent.

Henderson said being bankrupt was "an obvious impediment for any entrepreneur".

- NZ Herald

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