The Diary: 'He is banned' - Astle gives Dotcom the word

Net millionaire's call for a couch puts him offside with top eatery.

Antoine's owner Tony Astle won't be shifting furniture to accommodate "that man". Photo / Babiche Martens
Antoine's owner Tony Astle won't be shifting furniture to accommodate "that man". Photo / Babiche Martens

Single dad Kim Dotcom, who testified yesterday against his former friend John Banks, can forget about possible future date nights at exclusive Parnell eatery Antoine's, owner and executive chef Tony Astle told The Diary, "because he is banned".

The most enduring fine dining restaurant in Auckland turned away the troubled internet tycoon recently after a booking was made for him requesting a couch.

"Someone rang and made a booking and when I saw the booking was for Dotcom I rang back and said, 'I'm sorry, we're full, we can't let you in'. They wanted a couch for him to sit on, for goodness sake! I'm not moving furniture and bringing in a couch. For that man!" Astle said.

Astle is no stranger to controversy. The eccentric "godfather of New Zealand chefs" has banned Helen Clark - and jokes that David Cunliffe could be in his sights.

"I would have to consider banning Mr Cunliffe, should he ever become prime minister."

Antoine's, the favourite haunt of Prime Minister John Key, who is a frequent Sunday diner with his wife Bronagh, has entertained the great and the good for more than 40 years.

Astle is bringing out a book next year, and says he'll dish the dirt on some of his more scurrilous patrons.

Len Brown, he says, was a frequent diner, coming as often as four times in one week before the SuperCity election. "But we don't see him as much now."

Astle is a staunch Tory supporter. The glittering 40th anniversary party he threw for Antoine's last November billed Mr Key as a main attraction and many rich-lister Nat donors as guests.

He has donated more than $165,000 to the party coffers.

Key faced charges of hypocrisy from political opponents in March for criticising Mr Cunliffe's secret TR Trust while receiving donations from Astle before the last election. Astle told The Diary: "The donations didn't come out of my pocket, but from fundraising dinners I hosted."

The National Party had disclosed them to the Electoral Commission and denied any wrongdoing.

"It was at that time Dotcom suddenly wanted to come to Antoine's - after he heard the story about my donations to the National Party and the Prime Minister being a frequent diner here," Astle said.

"But I don't want [him] here. I'm perfectly in my legal rights to ban him."

A rep for Mr Dotcom did not return calls.

Rich Watson gets richer

Eric Watson's fortune has increased £103 million ($200 million) this year, says Britain's Sunday Times Rich List.


Tweets of the rich and famous ... Rich Lister Eric Watson posted this picture of him with his mum on Mother's Day.

The expat Kiwi who calls London home, started his working life as a butcher's apprentice. He now has an empire worth £240 million ($468 million), says the Sunday Times.

He has jumped 189 places on the Rich List to No 396 - ahead of David Beckham, Mick Jagger and the Marquess of Bath.

Sir Douglas Myers, who has been battling terminal cancer, remains New Zealand's richest man in the annual British list. He's worth £460 million, up £12 million on last year. David Richwhite is not far behind on £424 million, up £7 million.

Both are worth more than the Queen, whose fortune is estimated at a conservative £330 million.

Alan Gibbs (£235 million) and Sir Colin Giltrap (£167 million) are the other Kiwis on the list.

But it's Watson who's had the biggest financial gain. Will that windfall help him buy out Sir Owen Glenn from the troubled Warriors franchise they co-own? Surely he can afford to cough up more than the $1 million he has allegedly offered for the half-share.

Single, ready to mingle

Last week we told you golf pro Michael Campbell has split from his wife of 18 years, Julie. This week we can tell you she's embraced her newfound singleness with gusto, taking to Facebook with a saucy new profile picture bearing more than her pearly whites.


Single again, just getting back out in that wild jungle. Julie Campbell on Facebook.

The platinum blonde mother-of-two smiles in a selfie that leaves little to the imagination.

"Single again, just getting back out in that wild jungle," she purrs.

Her relationship status is not all she reveals. There's a veeery plunging neckline and a glint in her eye. Andalucia eat ya heart out.

Julie works as marketing manager at the Michael Campbell Golf Academy at the Villa Padierna Palace Hotel in Benahavis, Spain.

Her former husband is taking time out from his professional golf career, admitting he's not "mentally ready".

- NZ Herald

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