19 Sep 2010

Hubbard supporters call for public inquiry

6:04 am on 19 September 2010

Supporters of South Canterbury businessman Allan Hubbard are being encouraged to use public opinion to pressure the Government for a public inquiry into his business interests.

About 200 supporters and investors who met in Timaru on Saturday to show their support for Mr Hubbard passed a motion supporting Labour MP David Cunliffe's call for a public inquiry.

Mr Hubbard himself was not at the meeting, because statutory managers have forbidden him to communicate with investors, but that didn't stop one supporter from calling him on his mobile and letting him speak through a microphone.

To warm applause Mr Hubbard thanked people for their ongoing support.

Those at the meeting, clearly frustrated with the Serious Fraud Office investigation into Mr Hubbard, passed a motion of no confidence in the Government.

Reputation 'ruined' by Government

On 20 June the Government placed Mr Hubbard and his wife Jean under statutory management, along with seven charitable trusts and Aorangi Securities. Hubbard Management Funds was later put under statutory management too.

Investors at the meeting have interests in Aorangi Securities and Hubbard Management Funds, and some in South Canterbury Finance, which went into receivership on 31 August.

Meeting organiser Paul Carruthers told the meeting Mr Hubbard's reputation had been ruined by the Government because it wants to establish a heartland bank in the South Island, and Mr Hubbard stood in the way. He said the Serious Fraud office investigation was politically motivated.

SCF receivers work on asset sales

Meanwhile, receivers Kerryn Downey and William Black of McGrathNicol say they've received more than 150 enquiries from New Zealand and overseas investors interested in buying various parts of South Canterbury Finance.

The receivers are asking investment banks to submit proposals for advising and assisting them in selling the company's assets.

They say they've also made significant progress towards agreeing a staff retention package with the finance firm's senior managers and staff.