Sir Bob Jones' idol threat: A 5000-metre-high statue of Gareth Morgan

By Solbin Kang

A cartoon commissioned by Sir Bob Jones of a proposed statue in Wellington of Gareth Morgan. Photo / Supplied
A cartoon commissioned by Sir Bob Jones of a proposed statue in Wellington of Gareth Morgan. Photo / Supplied

Sir Bob Jones has offered to erect a 5000m-high statue of fellow businessman Gareth Morgan - to celebrate his "overwhelming wonderfulness" - but the joke's fallen flat on Morgan.

Sir Bob has written a tongue-in-cheek letter to Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown, saying he is willing to use land currently occupied by Solnet House, a building he owns in central Wellington, for the statue.

He sought a height restriction exemption for his idea.

Gareth Morgan. Photo / APN
Gareth Morgan. Photo / APN

"We seek an exemption to that restraint so as to demolish the building and erect in its place, a 5000-metre high statue of the great Gareth Morgan, in celebration of his overwhelming wonderfulness."

Sir Bob attached artwork of the envisioned statue.

It shows Dr Morgan with his arms outstretched, resembling the famous Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue.

"The enclosed sketch illustrates the splendid visual impact on the city which doubtless will enthral all councillors, as it will every Wellingtonian," wrote Sir Bob.

Sir Bob also had grand plans to include six buildings nearby to establish a "Department of Morgan Studies" at Victoria University.

Sir Bob, a property investor who famously punched a television journalist who had interrupted Sir Bob fishing in 1985, also planned to construct a temple accommodating up to 8000 "Morganist pilgrims at a time, providing for continuous thanks-giving services to the Almighty for blessing our city with the Second Coming in the form of Mr Morgan".

He went on to write that the self-made millionaire was humble and an "extraordinary genius" who deserved "nothing less".

Sir Bob said he even received a letter from North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un, who offered to cover costs of building the statue.

The "desirable project" would be a "phenomenal economic boom" for the capital, he
wrote.

Contacted by the Herald tonight, Dr Morgan hit back saying: "Thanks Sir B for your ongoing adulation, ask the rest home to decrease the sugar in your diet."

Sir Bob lives in his own home in hills overlooking Lower Hutt.

Dr Morgan, an economist, said he was "about as amused as normal with Sir B's output."

An "Economic Impact report" drafted by Sir Bob revealed Wellington would need 20,000 more hotel rooms to accommodate Morganite pilgrims. He ended the letter by saying: "Please endorse it at the next council meeting so that demolition may proceed."

Earlier this month, Dr Morgan offered to add his money to the Givealittle campaign to buy a pristine South Island beach on the Awaroa inlet.

However he had wanted exclusive rights for his family.

This was met with public backlash, and pledgers threatened to to withdraw their money if Dr Morgan contributed.

The crowdfunders hit their $2 million target last week and tender closed last week.
Dr Morgan later said his demand was simply a ploy to get people to pledge.

Dr Morgan made $47 million from selling Trademe, a website his son Sam created in 1999.

He subsequently donated the money from the sale to charity.

The website sold to Fairfax for $700 million in 2006.

Property mogul Sir Bob Jones was worth $620 million last year, making him the 15th richest person in New Zealand, according to the NBR Rich List 2015.

Sir Bob Jones' letter

- NZ Herald

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