The owner of a Reporoa holiday park fined a record $680,000 for exploiting migrant workers has vowed to fight the ruling because she has "not done anything wrong".
Shenshen Guan, owner of Golden Springs Holiday Park, told the Rotorua Daily Post she had no intention of paying the fine the Employment Court handed down last week.
Workers had described working under Guan as being "like a nightmare" and being trapped in a "prison". One even said they "wanted to die", the court was told.
But Guan claimed these allegations were untrue and they were looked after well.
New Zealand Fusion International Ltd and Guan, which operates the holiday park, was fined a $680,350 in penalties and unpaid wage arrears to three migrant workers.
The court found the migrants arrived on visitor visas and began working unlawfully under false promises of being paid.
However, Guan told the Daily Post that while they were staying with her, they did no work under her "direction" and she made it clear they would not be paid until their visas came through.
The first two workers had approached her back in 2015 after she advertised for workers here in New Zealand, she said.
She said they had come over on visitor visas as they had family here and had said they would get their working visas over here.
The migrants had done odd jobs such as scrub walls that she said she never asked them to do.
She said they wanted to prove that they would be good employees to their "future bosses".
Two of the three workers had mortgaged a house and withdrew their children's university funds in China to each pay a $45,000 premium "bond" to Guan, the Employment Court was told.
Guan told the Daily Post the premium "bond" was an expected custom in China and would pay for any living costs or damage while they were staying with her.
Once they started working, she would return the bond and they could pay her living costs directly, she said.
She claimed none of the migrants ever had an "employment relationship" with her.
The first two migrants did not qualify for their working visas and only ended up staying for a matter of months, she said.
She had wanted to sit down with them and calculate costs in order to return the bond, but legal action was taken, she said.
"We treated them as family ... it is just so shocking and ridiculous".
A complaint was lodged to the Labour inspectorate.
A third worker and her young daughter came to New Zealand on visitor visas in 2017 with the intention of gaining a working visa.
She said herself and this woman had done work together around the park but they were odd jobs that would be expected from someone living with them.
She had a range of photos showing the pair sawing wood together and even throwing large birthday celebrations for the young girl.
The third worker's visa was not accepted as Guan was advised she was not allowed to employ more migrant workers, she said.
The worker and her young daughter stayed a year before leaving.
In response to claims that the place was like a "prison", Guan said there was "no gate", she did not "hold their passports" and there was a vehicle available for them to use.
Fusion was ordered to pay $300,000 in penalties, with Guan ordered personally liable for a further $150,000. Both have been banned from employing staff for 18 months.
Each of the three workers will receive $100,000 of this total, on top of between $69,000 and nearly $92,000 they are owed in unpaid wages and compensation.
Guan said she would appeal the fine.
"I didn't do anything wrong ... If I'm right, I will keep fight[ing]"