Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

McKenna bankruptcy ends

Developer gains Good Friday discharge three years after trying to appease creditors chasing $150m in debt witha $1.25m offer.

Nigel McKenna
Nigel McKenna

Former high-profile property developer Nigel McKenna, who worked on projects including Auckland Viaduct's lighter quay and Queenstown's Kawarau Falls, is out of bankruptcy.

The Irish migrant, who is in his 50s, was automatically discharged from bankruptcy on Good Friday, according to the insolvency register.

In 2010, McKenna claimed to have completed work worth about $1 billion.

But pursued by creditors, he made himself bankrupt in April 2011, saying he was unable to pay his debts.

Earlier that year, McKenna had tried to appease creditors claiming more than $150 million from him by offering $1.25 million.

Fletcher Construction had been chasing McKenna for two years and was trying to bankrupt him for $800,000 owed from a $100 million Wellington hotel project.

Before his bankruptcy, McKenna worked on the Beaumont Quarter apartments near Auckland's Victoria Park and developed what is now the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour.

McKenna was going away for the long weekend and said he was unable to talk when the Herald called on Thursday to ask about his post-bankruptcy plans.

Undischarged bankrupts face restrictions, particularly in commercial life, and are managed by the Official Assignee. They cannot be a director of a company and must get consent before taking part in the management or control of a business.

They cannot incur credit of more than $1000 without telling the lender they are bankrupt and are not allowed to travel overseas without getting the Official Assignee's permission. They cannot own shares in a company, or a car worth more than $5000.

Bankrupts can keep their personal effects and $1000 in cash, but if they own a house it can be sold.

Several former high-flying property developers have come out of bankruptcy in recent months.

Andrew Krukziener, best known for the Metropolis building in Auckland, was automatically discharged from bankruptcy in December.

Jamie Peters was also discharged from bankruptcy last December after the Official Assignee failed to convince a High Court judge that the former property developer should remain bankrupt for three more years.

The assignee is appealing against that decision.

Christchurch developer David Henderson was to have come out of bankruptcy last year, but the Official Assignee is opposing his release.

This means Henderson will remain bankrupt until his financial affairs have been examined by the High Court in a hearing set down for June.

- NZ Herald

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