After surviving controversies over lie-detector tests and rubber ducks, it was timeshare sales that finally saw the curtain pulled on the colourful business empire of David Baty.

Mount Wellington resident Baty, 54, achieved national attention last year after demanding the winner of a fishing competition he promoted take a lie-detector test before he handing over the first prize of a $48,000 ute.

The standoff was only resolved when automobile maker Isuzu stepped in, two months into the controversy, to award the vehicle directly to the fishermen.

There was no similar happy ending for Classic Holidays NZ, of which Baty was sole director, with his timeshare sales franchise going under last month owing more than half a million dollars.


According to the Insolvency Register, Baty - also known as Dave or David Grant Baty - was also declared bankrupt on March 16 in the High Court at Auckland after failing to repay investors in his business owed $80,000.

Baty confirmed the liquidation and bankruptcy were related.

The first liquidators' report for Classic Holidays NZ prepared by KPMG's Vivian Fatupaito and Andrew Hawkes said Inland Revenue, who were owed $264,223 in unpaid taxes, had tipped the company over. Employees of the company were said to be owed $37,206, and unsecured creditors another $246,088.

The report said the company had operated as a franchise of Australian firm Classic Holidays Club and Baty blamed the collapse on "cash flow issues and issues with the Licensor".

"The liquidation forced the bankruptcy due to our entire resources [going] into Classic trying to get it into profit," Baty said.

Baty said negative feedback online about the Australian operation had hamstrung his business.

"It is difficult to sustain a business when 50 per cent of the people you sell to cancel within seven days."

He admitted he had made "stupid" decisions to keep the business trading despite the difficulties.

"I let my heart make business decisions due to the 30-odd staff we had and I became concerned about their employment rather than make the decision to close the business earlier."


Meanwhile, Baty also claimed he was unfairly treated in prior reporting by the Herald on his business affairs.

He was referring to an investigation that found Baty, as a trustee of Kidney Kids, was involved a botched fundraising scheme that left the charity with 12,000 rubber ducks languishing in a Takinini storage unit.

The charity had paid one of Baty's companies $21,275 to import the rubbery fowl from China, but a plan to raise money by dumping them into Auckland Harbour and let punters gamble on the results was left dead in the water by resource consent and Internal Affairs gaming regulations.

Baty claimed last year he would purchase the ducks back from Kidney Kids at cost to spare the charity losses. He declined an opportunity to confirm this purchase had taken place.

Keith Mackenzie, the chief executive of Kidney Kids who had insisted donors needn't be concerned the $21,275 was wasted - "when those ducks turn into dollars they'll be very pleased", he said last year - failed to return calls about the matter.