Brian Edwards Media

I receive and respond to an email from Amanda Hotchin

Stuff.co.nz

I have written four posts on Mark Hotchin. The first Reflections on not caring in Hawaii was highly critical of Hotchin’s and his wife Amanda’s seeming inability to comprehend why New Zealanders were offended by the contrast between the Hotchins’ current lifestyles and the current lifestyles of the thousands of Hanover investors who had lost not merely huge sums of money but their happiness and peace of mind as a result of Hotchin’s and Eric Watson’s greed and, by the most generous interpretation, mismanagement of the their investments.  

My comments had been largely triggered by a front-page report in the Sunday Star Times headlined Inside Hotchin’s Hawaiian Hideaway, in which Amanda was quoted as having said, “We don’t have to justify where we get our money from or what it is spent on to anyone. I don’t care what anyone says.”  

I concluded:  

It really is quite an extraordinary statement, exemplifying as it does all the characteristics of Level 1 moral development – absolute selfishness, lack of conscience and indifference to the welfare of others. I don’t doubt for a moment that these people love their children and are kind to animals. But the misery which their actions have brought to thousands of ‘mum and dad’ investors seems for them to fall into the category of ‘long-distance impersonal harm’, all the more distant from a lounger by the pool in Hawaii.    

I have nothing but contempt for most of the finance company shysters, whether on Wall Street or Queen Street, who have wreaked such havoc in the lives of those who put their trust in them. But really my contempt is wasted. They don’t care. And it is their not caring that is the unforgivable crime.     

The three more recent posts have all involved criticism of the media coverage of the Hotchins.  

The first was a critique of TV3’s Tristram Clalyton ‘stammering and stuttering his way’ through an airport interview with Hotchin and concluded: ‘When Hotchin finally said, “Why do I keep talking to you?”, I thought this was the best question in the interview’.    

In the remaining two posts I took the Herald to task for two front page non-stories on Hotchin’s wealth from which you would ‘learn absolutely zip, except perhaps that nothing delights journalists so much as the opportunity to climb on a bandwagon, even if that involves flogging the dead horse pulling it’.  

Reasonable investigation, I felt, and still feel, had given way to little more than hate-mongering.  

This afternoon I received the following email from Amanda Hotchin. It is here published in full and followed by my comments on what she has said.  

Dear Brian,   

I have long enjoyed and respected your work on radio and television. Only recently did I come across your media site, after following a link concerning me from another website. I found the piece you wrote in May 2010 titled “Reflections on not caring in Hawaii”.     

It upset me greatly to see you repeated the “quote” from the Sunday Star Times “We don’t have to justify where we get our money from or what it is spent on to anyone. I don’t care what anyone says”.  I can tell you that I never said those words or anything like them. The “quote” is pure fabrication. I have four sworn affidavits from people who were present or nearby when I told the reporter to leave the property. Two of those affidavits are from two Americans working on site at the request of the rental management company (who I do not know personally) who overheard our exchange and confirm I said nothing like what I was “quoted” as saying.  Your media site talks about reporters tape recording meetings/interviews, this is a recording I would like to hear.  Also it is recommended on your site honesty is the best policy when dealing with media, should this not be so for both parties.  

Brian, the point is I do care what people say. The constant media and public comment about my husband, Hanover and myself has become a hate campaign.  Over the last year I have learned to my cost that not everything you read, hear or see in the media is true. Indeed it is often pure fantasy.  In my sad naive way I was one the many New Zealanders who believed if it was in the national news paper it must be true, media influences the thoughts and feeling of a nation and this is a very powerful position to be in, surely there should be someway to ensure balance.  Propaganda is a word that comes to mind when I think of the media we have received.  The terrible thing is those lies, falsehoods and fabrications remain forever on the internet and, as I found by following that link to your blog, they gain life when others repeat them.I know you will say I should have sued the paper if its story was untrue. I began legal proceedings but now find now the cost is prohibitive. I know I could lodge a complaint with the Press Council but, even if it finds in my favour, the small apology or correction would have none of the impact of the original story and those lies will remain on the internet forever.  I am not, as you suggest in that blog, absolutely selfish, lacking in conscience and indifferent to the welfare of others. I care very much about what has happened, I do care that investors have lost money, I am concerned for their welfare. This type of inaccurate reporting is causing them even more pain.  I am also concerned for the welfare of my family which is being subjected to a tabloid media campaign motivated by hate and the greed of papers and broadcasters that simply want to make money from everyone else’s misery.   

I trust you will have the chance to revise your opinion of me once the full story of what happened to Hanover is revealed in the coming months.   

For the record.  We currently rent one and a half floor unit in the residence visited by the Herald which does not include the rooftop pool.  I was the female who was outside cleaning the windows and sweeping, but they knew this because it was the same female dressed in exactly the same clothes who took her children to the beach who they later named as me.  But this only a dot on the inaccuracy that have been reported in the past three years.   

Kind regards Amanda Hotchin  

My Response  

Paragraph One:   

If you did not say those words, Amanda, ‘or anything like them’ , then this is a disgraceful piece of misreporting by Sunday Star Times journalist Jonathan Marshall. Its effect would undoubtedly have been to prejudice readers against you and to ‘lower you in the eyes of right-thinking people’, a common definition of defamation. You or your lawyers should demand that Marshall or the Sunday Star Times produce the recording or reporter’s notes on which these direct quotes were based. If they cannot do so and you have sworn affidavits from disinterested witnesses that you never said those words ‘or anything like them’, then I’d be looking to sue both the publication and the journalist. But I’m afraid no-one is going to believe that you can’t afford to do so.  

Paragraph Two:   

I agree that media coverage of your husband and yourself  now has all the character of ‘a hate campaign’.  

If what has been written about you is indeed ‘lies, falsehoods and fabrications’, you are correct in saying that those lies, falsehoods and fabrications  will nonetheless ‘remain forever on the Internet and, as I found by following that link to your blog, gain life when others repeat them’.  

There is very little point in writing to the Press Council. It is a toothless tiger. Further, if you lodge a complaint with it, you have to forfeit your  right to subsequently sue the publication or journalist you have complained of.  

As to my opinion of you, Amanda, I don’t of course know you personally. My criticism of you in the first post was based almost entirely on the comments attributed to you in the Jonathan Marshall piece in the Sunday Star Times. If you did not make those comments, the picture changes dramatically and I would happily revise my opinion.  

Paragraph Four:  

This is the risible piece of non-journalism by  Andrew Koubaridis in the Weekend Herald, to which you are referring:  

He spent much of the weekend indoors but walked to the nearby dairy with his children and stopped to watch a surf-lifesaving contest on the beach metres from the back lawn.  

While Mr Hotchin was invisible for much of the weekend, others were busy at work on the home. A teenage boy cleaned the rooftop pool while a woman cleaned the windows and swept.  

Mr Hotchin’s wife Amanda was more visible, sitting with the children at the top of the beach watching the surf lifesaving carnival and looking on while they played backyard cricket in the muggy heat.  

If Koubaridis  failed to see that the woman cleaning the windows and sweeping was you, then he is even more inept at his trade than the rest of his piece suggests. If he knew it was you, then that would be a further piece of disgraceful and prejudicial journalism, since the sole purpose of the reference is to suggest that you have servants at your beck and call.  

Finally:  

I find your email very reasonable and compelling, Amanda. But I can no more judge your honesty than I can judge the accuracy of the reports that have been published about you and your husband. Bad journalism is not necessarily dishonest journalism.  

However, I think there is an obligation on both the Sunday Star Times and the Herald to respond to what you have said. And I invite them to do so.

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197 Comments:

  1. 1

    Cognitive dissonance city

  2. Interesting. If her comments are correct, it would not surprise me all that much. I admit, I’d then have to revise my opinion, as well.

  3. She writes like a very well mannered reasonable person. Just because she hasn’t sued to today’s date doesn’t mean she has accepted the comments as fact, probably had far better things to do with her time and worry about.

    Bryan you say the answer is to hand to lawyers however NZ gets you very little from defamation other than a huge legal bill even if you are correct.

    I hope she releases the affidavits to the media shortly and if SST and their tabloid creep of a journalist can’t produce evidence of what she was reported to have said that the opposition paper gives the SST a good kicking. After weaseling his way to Hawaii I imagine there was plenty of pressure to come back with something.

    As for the NZH staking the family over Xmas and soliciting stories from Hanover investors who lost money? Disgusting.

    As any man knows in this situation the largest targets become family. I applaud Mrs Hotchin for sticking it to the media and hope to hear more from her.

    • She writes like a very well mannered reasonable person.

      Peter, you’re correct about defamation suits – hugely expensive and a lottery at best. In addition, huge prejudice would attach to Mark Hotchin at the outset. But a writ for defamation can produce results. I also agree with you that, if the Hotchins do not intend to sue, they should certainly release the affidavits for publication.

      I should add that there are two quite separate issues here: Hotchin’s and Watson’s obligations to the investors whose money they lost; and the media’s recent treatment of the Hotchin family. The Hanover directors may be guilty as sin, but that does not give journalists free rein to distort the facts or make things up.

  4. Amanda Hotchin says ” I do care that investors have lost money, I am concerned for their welfare.” Fine, but what is she is doing to demonstrate that concern? She then goes on to say,
    “This type of inaccurate reporting is causing them even more pain.”
    Sounds very much like a self justification to me!
    These so called financial moguls have caused incredible suffering to hundreds of thousands of naive investors, yet unlike their blue collar counterparts inevitably seem to escape imprisonment or censure. I find it astounding that sympathies are extended towards them, and that people think she should be suing for something she may or may not have said. If Amanda Hotchin is that affronted, and has the affidavits, she should release them.
    I doubt very much that the investors who have lost their life savings are going to sleep any better in the knowledge that Amanda Hotchin “cares and is concerned about them.”

    • Amanda Hotchin says ” I do care that investors have lost money, I am concerned for their welfare.” Fine, but what is she is doing to demonstrate that concern?

      Well Ross, let’s assume that I accept that as a reasonable question. Now write to me again with some practical suggestion/s as to what she can/should do ‘to demonstrate that concern’. Your suggestions will have to bear in mind that there are thousands of investors who lost money by investing in this company in the hope of gaining above market returns. It will presumably also have to take into account that she is the wife of one of the villains in the piece, not the villain herself. As for imprisonment or censure, you’re perhaps a bit premature here. You may recall that the Securities Commission and the Serious Fraud Offic are both investigating Hanover and that Hotchin’s assets have been frozen. There’s certainly been plenty of censure and imprisonment is also a possibility. Bit of a Catch 22 on the ‘caring’ front as well. She’s condemned for [allegedly] having said she didn’t care, and now condemned for saying she does care.

  5. Who does one believe? I’ve no idea, as I was not present.

    But I have had my own experiences with media reporting and perhaps the most telling in terms of mis-representation was when I colleague of mine and I sat through a Select Committee Hearing on the then “Films, Videos, and Publications Classifications Censorship Bill” in May 1993.

    Our submission was at the end of the day’s Hearings and we got to listen to each group making their submissions.

    At a rough estimate, the submitters were 50/50 in favour or opposed to increasing censorship.

    There was considerable input from the NZ Law Society on the Strict Liability clause, which placed the burden of proof on accused to prove innocence in possession of banned material. One of the two Law Society submitters stated that the Strict Liability clause was so nebulous and unworkable that “officers of the Courts would be bound to throw out such cases”.

    To which one of the MPs on the Select Committee (a rather large, middle-aged white gent, whose name I have since forgotten) shot back,

    “Well, we’ll just have to change those officers, won’t we?”

    I was flabbergasted and looked over at the journos taking notes. This would be front-page news tomorrow, I thought; a Member of Parliament threatening to interfere with the workings of the judicial system!!

    Imagine my surprise then, when “The Dominion” carried two brief stories headed, “Violence ‘starts’ with Video Games” and “Patients on porn harass nurses, committee told” (Dominion, 19 May 1993).

    Both news stories supported tightening censorship.

    There was no reference whatsoever to the other (approximately) 50% of submissions from the NZ Law Society, art groups, film producers, writers, etc, which opposed tightening censorship.

    And not one word that one of the Committee’s MPs had threatened to intervene in New Zealands justice system.

    It was a salient lesson in how our media works.

  6. My experience has been that whenever I’ve known something about a topic prominently featured in the media, my understanding has been in conflict with the story as reported. Sometimes this extends only to significant details and at others it seems that the story reported shares only the title and protagonists with what I believe to be true. In consequence, I no longer read the Herald and similar publications as I prefer to find my ‘entertainment’ elsewhere.
    This kind of journalism has little to do with the truth or falsity of the story: it is about selling newspapers. If creating a pack of voices baying for the blood of a victim does that, then it will be done. Those selected for such attention have little control over what happens. Victims may be selected because they are good or because they are bad: it matters little.
    In the end, gutter journalists rely on a credulous readership of which there is no shortage. Perhaps we collectively get what we deserve. A nice black and white story with clear villains and heroes that is essentially fabrication seems to satisfy much more than something in shades of grey that tells something closer to the truth.

  7. I have a fair bit of sympathy for Mrs Hotchin as at the end of the day she just happens to be married to Mark, she didnt run Hanover.
    My sympathy is tempered by the idea that she thought she could build a 30 million dollar house without attracting a fair bit of negative coverage and lending some credibility to Jonathon Marshalls reported quotes.
    Whether she said it out loud or not there is a 30 mill monument to the Hotchins thinking on Paratai Drive.

  8. Amanda: “…..once the full story of what happened to Hanover is revealed in the coming months.”
    Yes indeed. I guess the confirming or not of the Hotchin honesty will have a profound effect on credibility perception.
    But initial impressions stick. For example “Labour is going to restrict your showers, and ban light bulbs.” Too late to correct the impression and it stuck- fast.

  9. Yeah yeah, Mrs Hotchin, life is tough sometimes. Actually for many of us a lot of the time. Naive about the media and how the media and life really works when the golden spoon falls out of your mouth – good learning experience. Feeling helpless, misunderstood, people lie about you, it’s all so unfair – join the club. Winners aren’t whiners though – wasn’t that one of Mark’s slogans – or was that another media misquote? I didn’t see Mark or Eric complaining about media bias when they were puffing up their successes. When you are up people luurve you, when down they kick you, this is not news. Tough on the kids, maybe so, maybe not. Maybe they will grow up to be better, and less self-centred, than their parents – odds are against it though. Marie Antoinette was also misunderstood (I mean this seriously), loved her husband and her kids, cared about people, lived off the fat of the land and came a hideously cruel cropper at the hands of the mob. Do you feel more sympathy for her now Amanda? I might have had more sympathy for you if you hadn’t participated in your husband’s conspicuous consumption birthday celebrations after a lot of people lost a lot of money. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for them either, but irrespective of how any inquiry comes out, that money is still lost, and Mark & Eric were on duty at the time. Here’s another truism for you Mrs Hotchin – those who fly too close to the flame crash and burn – I guess you know that now.

  10. Ross/Brian – what can she do? Well Lord Profumo made a fair fist of it. I think it’s called giving back, making up for what you’ve done (or happily enjoyed the benefits of), perhaps even simply being a touch humble in the face of adversity. It is not moving to Australia and booking the removalists to bring all your possessions over (including shipping 2 cars). That would have cost a huge packet (by my standards and I can’t afford it). Of course personal partners and children shouldn’t be pursued by a lynch mob, but on the other hand, trying to run the naive/ignorance/innocence line is just a bit ….. rich.

  11. There seem to be two issues here.
    1. Has the media coverage been fair to the Hotchins,and
    2. The ethics / morality of the Hanover Investment company and it’s demise.
    Thanks Gary, as my first thought about what the Hotchins could do, or have done, would have been to stay in NZ and attempt to put to right some of the financial mess that they have made. By choosing to live overseas and attempt to transfer assets hardly seems very caring.
    I acknowledge that the thousands of people who invested in Hanover were looking for a better than average return, and were perhaps naive in believing all they were told,(or saw on TV ads). However, as in the Blue Chip example the principals involved invariably seem to be able to restructure their lives and lifestyles much more easily than their “Mum and Dad investors” A cruel irony perhaps.
    As to the media coverage, maybe it is shallow, headline seeking, insubstantial, and inaccurate. That unfortunately probably reflects more about the current state of our media rather than any great injustice towards Mrs Hotchins.

    • As to the media coverage, maybe it is shallow, headline seeking, insubstantial, and inaccurate. That unfortunately probably reflects more about the current state of our media rather than any great injustice towards Mrs Hotchins.

      Ross, I can accept everything you say up to this point. This is rather like saying: Ah well, there it is, that’s the media for you, what can you do? The problem with that is that the media not only shapes people’s opinions, it affects the reputations and lives of those it defames or wrongly reports. Based on the original Sunday Star Times story of what Amanda Hotchin was reported to have said, I wrote a searing commentary on her and her family, placing them at the very bottom of the morality scale. That in turn would have affected the opinions of others. And so on. As she rightly suggests in her email, this stuff is viral and corrosive. I’m happy for the villainy of investment companies and their directors to be exposed. But I’m equally determined to see that ‘insubstantial and inaccurate reporting’ be exposed and those guilty of it brought to book.

      [An interesting little side-issue here. I realise that I’ve been treating the word media as a singular – ‘the media not only shapes etc – when it is or course the plural of medium. It’s probably common practice now, but the construction actually looks rather ugly.]

  12. It seems rich(possibly a bad choice of term)to me that a business who manipulated a media personality to increase their market share has fallen foul of the media.If the media have misquoted her,I still have little patience for those who exhibit a lavish lifestyle while others suffer the consequences of Hotchins actions.

  13. Leon Festinger, an American social psychologist proposed the theory of cognitive dissonance in the late 1950s and, predictably, even wrote a book on the subject. His theory sought to understand the processes when a person holds conflicting ideas and is unable to rationalise this conflicting state. He used, as an example, smokers. It is rational and possible for a smoker to know that smoking is harmful yet not suffer any psychological discomfort in continuing to smoke. What happens when the smoker can’t rationalise away this knowledge? The result, Festinger theorised, was dissonance, a psychologically uncomfortable state. He postulated that sufferers of dissonance would be motivated to reduce the state of dissonance and seek to achieve a state he termed consonance; and secondly when dissonance is present, in addition to endeavouring to reduce it, sufferers will actively avoid information and situations that tend to increase it. Dissonance, therefore, is a motivating factor in its own right.

    So “I take it that means “doesn’t ring true”. ” is not to do Festinger or his theory, justice. Festinger never postulated that and it shouldn’t be so construed.

  14. Brian, this is a very interesting “spin” o events, quite some time after the events I might add.

    It reads almost like a briefing one would receive if one was engaged to undertake public relations for the Hotchins.

    For the record can you please state whether or not you or Judy, or any of your associated companies have been or are currently engaged by the Hotchins or any of their associated entities for the purposes of public relations, communications or any other business.

    All in the interests of transparency, I might have missed your disclaimer on the post about a conflict…i only read it very quickly.

    • For the record can you please state whether or not you or Judy, or any of your associated companies have been or are currently engaged by the Hotchins or any of their associated entities for the purposes of public relations, communications or any other business.

      The least surprising thing about this inquiry, Mr Slater, is that it came from you. You have to have a certain type of mind to suspect dishonesty of this sort in other journalists and commentators. I’m happy to assure you that neither Judy nor I have or have ever had any business association with Mark Hotchin, Amanda Hotchin, Eric Watson or anyone else remotely associated with Hanover Finance. I’ll put your question down to envy of our reputation for honesty in our personal and business affairs and in the advice which we offer to clients. I wonder if you can make the same claim.

  15. Re “I trust you will have the chance to revise your opinion of me once the full story of what happened to Hanover is revealed in the coming months.”

    Want to show some real heart, Amanda? Sell some of your properties to repay the investors that your husband has fleeced. Because your “woe is me” bleating, really grates.

    In its totality, you have not been maligned, defamed, misrepresented, wrongly portrayed, misunderstood etc., etc. Despite some reporting on how you’re living, which might be faintly hued by the press.

    And expect no sympathy from those, who are absolutely repelled that the needle to your moral compass — points, unerringly, to the magnetic poles of “profligate greed and conspicuous consumption”.

    [An interesting little side-issue here. I realise that I’ve been treating the word media as a singular – …]
    Who cares? Does anyone worry about the word, “data”, commonly used as a singular; when it’s the plural of “datum”. Besides, “medium”, suggests some kind of interloper, mucking about with a ouija board.

    • [An interesting little side-issue here. I realise that I’ve been treating the word media as a singular – …] Who cares?

      As it happens, Merv, I care about the use of language. And nothing impresses me less in another person than the attitude of “who cares?” It ranks with “whatever” as the dismissive response of someone who can’t be bothered or has no argument to offer. Frankly Merv, I’m tiring of your overwrought, inflammatory, often abusive rhetoric. It adds little to debate and is frequently tedious. Why not move across to Whaleoil – much more your level of debate.

  16. Nice reply Brian but since you are a pedant I not that your answer is in the past tense.

    “I’m happy to assure you that neither Judy nor I have or have ever had any business association with Mark Hotchin, Amanda Hotchin, Eric Watson or anyone else remotely associated with Hanover Finance.”

    We have cleared up that that you have not HAD any past association but there remains the question of your current association.

    “I’ll put your question down to envy of our reputation for honesty in our personal and business affairs and in the advice which we offer to clients.”

    So with that statement Brian, are you saying that you are doing precisely that with your curent clients including Amanda and Mark Hotchin.

    I know it might seem a little tricky of me but you really are a pedant when it comes to language and one must read and take in precisely what you have said, including the tense that you used.

    Thanks for finally admitting that I am a journalist and commentator, albeit not up to the required standard…what ever that is. I can assure you that I do have standards they just appear to be be very low from the lofty height that you are peering down from.

    One last thing, I can also assure you that I have zero feeling of envy of you or whatever reputation you care to think you have.

    • Nice reply Brian but since you are a pedant I not that your answer is in the past tense. “I’m happy to assure you that neither Judy nor I have or have ever had any business association with Mark Hotchin, Amanda Hotchin, Eric Watson or anyone else remotely associated with Hanover Finance.”

      Spirited reply, Cameron. But now that we’ve established our mutual disregard, let’s return to the issue.

      I really don’t mind being called a pedant. I think precision in language is vital in communication and in the logical examination of issues. So, wearing my pedant hat, may I give you a brief lesson in English grammar. In the sentence ‘I’m happy to assure you that neither Judy nor I have or have ever had any business association with Mark Hotchin, Amanda Hotchin, Eric Watson or anyone else remotely associated with Hanover Finance’, the first have is the present tense of the verb ‘to have’ (now have or currently have) and the second usage have ever had is the past or perfect tense of the verb ‘to have’ (not ever or never).

      Hope that clears it up. If not, see Judy’s reply.

  17. Whaleoil’s question deserves an answer, Brian, doesn’t it?

    So are you currently acting for the Hotchins?

    • neither Judy nor I have or have ever had any business association with Mark Hotchin, Amanda Hotchin, Eric Watson or anyone else remotely associated with Hanover Finance.

      Ok, for those who are unable to comprehend verbs and tense, let’s put it in primary school terms:

      Brian and I do not have any association with the Hotchins or any of their companies. Brian and I have never had any association with the Hotchins or any of their companies. Brian and I, to the best of my memory, have never met the Hotchins or been contacted by anyone on their behalf on any matter whatsoever at any time.

      We did once meet Eric Watson at a function, years ago when he was still everyone’s darling. I sat next to his then wife, Nicky Watson, at dinner. The conversation was definitely not memorable .

  18. Dear brian,
    It appears that you have been infected by the whaleoil virus since I last read your blog…bugger.
    There is no known remedy unfortunately. The only good news is that it is more of annoyance than an actual threat to your system.
    The unusual thing about this virus is that it feeds on attention…any attention. Even blocking it would feed it’s “ego”.
    Good luck…

  19. Brian, when I read the email Amanda Hotchin sent to you and now the story in today’s NZ Herald and saw how much the Hotchins actually own and how much elderly investors have lost, my thoughts went straight to this Bible verse which hung in a frame on a wall in the house where I grew up in, and now hangs on my wall:
    “For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul”. Mark 8 verse 36.

    The Hotchins and others involved with the Hanover Finance collapse have a lot of soul-searching to do.

    • The Hotchins and others involved with the Hanover Finance collaspe have a lot of soul-searching to do.

      OK, but does your religion draw any distinction between the villain and the villain’s wife and children? Actually, it’s a rhetorical question since I already know the answer. It doesn’t. ‘The sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the children to the third and fourth generations.’

      My take on it is this: Years and years ago Amanda met and fell in love with Mark Hotchin. They got married, had children and are still together. I don’t imagine that, on their wedding day, she anticipated that her husband would one day be reviled for his business activities or the harm he did to so many people. Even less, that she would be reviled too.

      And, I know, she lived a pretty good life since. But what, precisely, does that make her guilty of.

      I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the world but New Zealand. But among our many excellent characteristics as Kiwis, one is less admirable – we’re great punishers and haters.

  20. Bravo, BE!

  21. Poor Amanda.Actions speak louder than words.What did she say to Marshall then?As for Hotchin he has made a career(as have many of the ‘uber’ wealthy)in being a ‘successful failure’.Hanover is just the latest and greatest example.Btw….I wonder if the ‘Campbells shed’….still standing!

  22. I think precision in language is important but only from time-to-time-and-place vital (see “we are sinking” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRf9ooQ7qq8). Yes, I know you are probably meaning ‘vital’ in the sense of vitality of language and culture, rather than life-or-death. English is a gloriously informal contemporary bastard of a language – if you really want precision you may have to go back to Latin, French or ‘High’ Chinese. A blog (a slightly higher brow version of talk back radio) is not that vital time or place. I try to be precise but the effect of my very long ago lessons in spelling and grammar have faded to an alarming degree. ‘Media’ does now sound better to me, probably because it’s shorter and ubiquitous, whereas ‘medium’ immediately invokes ‘tedium’ in my mind and brain. Perhaps the arts world could help out – how about mixed-media?

  23. Harassment of family members of owners of failed businesses is common in New Zealand and the media have jumped on Amanda’s case because society tolerates it. Sensational reporting has also become common place otherwise there would be few things of interest happening in New Zealand worthy of the attention of the masses.

    And anyone with business experience knows that sticking your head out runs the risk of getting it chopped off. Both Hotchins have a profile magnified by that monstrosity that was to be the envy of ‘high society’. They have the attention a property like that was bound to get from the media, except its turned its attention to the plight of those who lost money which they used to fund its construction.

    What did they think would happen?

    Both should be thankful there are not armies of debt collectors stalking their every move and harassing every member of their family while the police turn a blind eye to it. In the real world, that happens for amounts less than what they spend on groceries in a week, over debts that are unproven, over debts owners are not even personally liable.

    They should pray none of those out-of-pocket investors have gang members for relatives, because they might view this as their right to a pound of flesh. There’ll be others looking at their predicament as a way to profit themselves, and other low-life’s will be viewing this as a bounty meal ticket or to extort money from them.

    All the while the media will dissect their lives with one eye shut because the public will not award any goodwill until its proven that those separated from their money were not wronged intentionally.

    Business failure is an unforgiving and harsh place to be. Families of owners of failed businesses regularly show up at doctors offices with nerves in tatters suffering from depression. In New Zealand Xanax is popular because you don’t fail in business then walk away and start all over again. But thats why both are hiding out in Australia, they both knew there would be consequences, and both might have naively believed distance could isolate them from the fallout.

    It didn’t, and they’ll need to harden up because its only going to get worse. If people are saying and writing things about them that are untrue, then why dignify it with a response? People will draw their own conclusions until Mark’s behind bars, or the victims receive compensation.

    There won’t be a happy ending to this for the Hotchins, there won’t be a high life afforded to them on the misfortune of others. But at least in a decade or so once the dust settles and people forget, they will be able to start again, not make the same mistakes… and “deserve” the riches that come with success.

  24. The lovely thing about our language is that it’s alive and kicking, and changes to suit the times and our needs.

    ‘media’ started as a useful collective noun to encompass all branches of the Fourth Estate. When used this way people often still treat it as a plural – ‘The media are swarming round the hotel.’ But it’s also being employed as a useful catchall, and doesn’t sound odd in the singular. A lone reporter may be announced: ‘The media’s here to see you.’

    It’s also sneaked into other classes – as an adjective: ‘a media event’, or as a modifier – ‘a media-savvy businessman’.

    What’s next? I predict some PR bunny will do a spot of conversion and use it as a verb – ‘I’ll media your new product this afternoon.’

    Don’t scoff! I bet you never imagined we’d be using ‘text’ as a verb!

  25. I noticed in parsing (sic) that Mr Whaleoil Slater said “I only read it very quickly”. What no thought/analysis/pondering/consideration before responding? I thought that’s probably something Slater himself would criticise others for doing. Then I noticed, as Slater was criticising you Brian as a pedant (is that a bad thing?), he said “Nice reply Brian but since you are a pedant I not that your answer is in the past tense.” and I noted that he had left the “e” off his note. Slater not only inadvertently negated his own comment he kind of proved your point Brian. Lovely – maybe there is a god. But then I thought it would probably only provoke Slater to make more inane comments (see Swampthing), so I decided it would be better (that’s future tense Mr Slater) not to comment.

  26. It’s amazing how communicative people get when you take their assets off them…
    The SST and Herald articles may have seemed “trial by media”, but have spurred the state agencies to actually move to have a proper trial. It has taken almost 3 years for the SFO to do anything about these companies who have lent other entities (that they also own) investors’ money and then covered this up. The fact that they obviously still believe that they deserve to live a lifestyle only enjoyed by kings in previous centuries doesn’t support the notion that they are penitent and attacking our media for highlighting this is just an extension of the same behaviour. I’m sure that most of their money is hoarded away in trusts anyway. Jonathan Marshall is a smart young journalist willing to stick his neck out – Andrew Williams peeing in public was his scoop for example. All power to his pen. I’m sure the Hotchins’ employees or their friends in Hawaii are willing to state all sorts in their defence but Marshall has more integrity.
    Amanda Hotchin is hated for living off other people’s misfortunes when in this day and age she has equal power with her husband to determine where and how their family live.

    • Andre Dromgool

      attacking our media for highlighting – not what the media was attacked for. It was attacked for sloppy, inaccurate and possibly dishonest reporting.

      I’m sure that most of their money is hoarded away in trusts anyway. – No, you aren’t.

      Andrew Williams peeing in public wsa his scoop for example. – Wow! Should win the Pulitzer for that!

      Amanda Hotchin is hated for living off other people’s misfortunes when in this day and age she has equal power with her husband to determine where and how their family live. – You don’t know that either. You have no information on the nature of the relationship between Amanda and Mark Hotchin. She might in fact have very little power in that relationship.

      Do you actually read what you’ve written before you publish it? More importantly, do you think about what you’ve written? Apparently not.

  27. Regardless of what she did or did not say, she has still happily enjoyed the riches gained by the actions of her husband and Eric Watson (I wont say corrupt actions just yet, because unfortunately its likely they operated within the law, just right on the very boundary of it – no mention of morality though), and still continues, along with her husband, to try and regain access to those riches. Level 1 Moral Development – I must remember that!

    • Regardless of what she did or did not say, she has still happily enjoyed the riches gained by the actions of her husband… and still continues, along with her husband, to try and regain access to those riches’

      Hypothetical case: You’re married to a rich man and living a priviliged life. (No crime there.) It then turns out that the rich man has been less than prudent or scrupulous in his business dealings. He deserves to be villified by the community and the media. But do you? And do your children?

      The answer to that would seem to me to be whether you knew about your husband’s dodgy dealings, whether you were party to those dodgy dealings, whether there was anything you could have done to stop those dodgy dealings.

      You, CN, don’t know the answer to any of those questions, but you’re happy, in your ignorance, to condemn the wife out of hand.

      And I’d really like to know what you believe a wife (and mother) should have done in this case – left her husband, left the family home, taken the children with her, emptied her personal bank account, sold all her beloongings and given the money to charity, worn sackcloth and ashes, entered a nunnery? Get real. This woman is married to this man. He is the father of her children. She has loyalties to him and obligations to them.

      Save your moralising for the husband. It simply isn’t possible for his wife to change her circumstances while she remains his wife and the mother of his children.

  28. Two quotes from different contributors to the above debate, but in closer proximity to each other:

    1) “My experience has been that whenever I’ve known something about a topic prominently featured in the media, my understanding has been in conflict with the story as reported.”

    2) “…life is tough sometimes. Actually for many of us a lot of the time. Naive about the media and how the media and life really works when the golden spoon falls out of your mouth – good learning experience. Feeling helpless, misunderstood, people lie about you, it’s all so unfair – join the club.”

    EVERYBODY has these experiences, except those protected by wealth and/or position – until the wheels fall off.

    Amanda, get a job.

  29. I’ll say that any financial commentator who reads Amanda Hotchin’s email — and has an inkling as to what went on inside Hanover — will find absolutely nothing “compelling” about it. Nothing at all. They will be either rolling their eyes, bemused; or chortling.

    Amanda Hotchin is NZ’s very own Ruth Madoff.

  30. There is an irony in her comment

    “Over the last year I have learned, to my cost, that not everything you read, hear or see in the media is true. Indeed it is often pure fantasy.”

    Sounds like a financial statement from Hanover Finance.

  31. Robw – you are exactly right.

    The media in NZ sold its soul for the millions of advertising money paid by the finance companies which successfully sucked in billions from the vulnerable investors out there.

    Meanwhile, the media steered clear of publishing any articles criticizing the activities of the finance companies -until it was too late.

    Now the media is belatedly jumping on the bandwagon.

    The advertising money was blood money.

    That is the cold hard truth.

    Remember Colin Meads “Solid As”? Richard Long? Greg Muir? Jock Hobbs?

    [Defamatory comment deleted.]

  32. I wouldnt be so sure about two things BE, firstly my ignorance of the situation under discussion, and secondly that it simply isnt possible for his wife to do anything. Showing some humility would go a long way.

    There are many many situations which I could raise here to draw parallels to.

  33. The cents-in-the-dollar value ex-Hanover investors currently can see in their accounts could be considerably improved if Hotchin and Watson returned the $91 million they awarded themselves a few months before the collapse.

    People seeing this $91m figure in relation to the $550m failure have plenty of reason to be miffed. Every meal, car, trip, item of clothing, coffee etc consumed by the Hotchin family is from monies obtained immorally at the complete expense of those who trusted the skills and honour of Hanover.

  34. “And I’d really like to know what you believe a wife (and mother) should have done in this case – left her husband, left the family home, taken the children with her, emptied her personal bank account, sold all her beloongings and given the money to charity, worn sackcloth and ashes, entered a nunnery?”
    A great question Brian. A question that The Sopranos and the almost as good Boardwalk Empire put to viewers. What responsibility does the “innocent” wife/goilfriend have? Camilla Soprano’s character was easy to hate and feel sorry for. She was abused, powerless and complicit all at once.
    Camilla didn’t try to enter a nunnery, but did have a thing for a priest once.
    And as for Tony’s mother…
    The media treatment of Hotchin’s wife…they’ll never come close to getting to the nub of her part in the whole sad story – unless she gets a cheque from New Idea…ha ha

  35. Brian

    How can Amanda Hotchin show her concern: Get her husband to give back his part of the $93 million in ‘fees’ he took. Watson can do the same while he’s at it. Also buy a Toyota Corolla and rent a house for $400-$600 a week like the rest of us plebs who live WITHIN our means…

    As an aside, isn’t Jonathan Marshall this idiot? http://www.listener.co.nz/issue/3303/features/582/jonathan_marshall.html

    Where did he get his journalism qualifications. Sounds like a Jayson Blair or Stephen Glass…

    • Get her husband to give back his part of the $93 million in ‘fees’ he took.

      ‘Good morning, dear. I really think you should give back your part of the $93 million you took in fees.’

      ‘Allright sweetheart, I will. Have you seen my chequebook?’

      Well, at least it’s a suggestion, Mike.

  36. “I care very much about what has happened, I do care that investors have lost money, I am concerned for their welfare.”

    Amanda, if you really care, then walk the talk: come back to NZ, convince your husband to front up to the investors he owes so much to, you and your husband sell your most valuable assets (Paritai, the property on Waiheke Island, etc) to re-pay investors… This is as simple as that… Nothing less will still be perceived as plain arrogance and selfishness.

    • you and your husband sell your most valuable assets (Paritai, the property on Waiheke Island, etc) to re-pay investors…

      Slight problem with that, Fred. Their assets have been frozen. They can’t sell anything.

  37. Judy – add “surveil” to your list of new verbs! It’s now a staple of American police reality shows. e.g “We spent two weeks surveilling the accused.” Ick..

  38. I agree the media often misquote people. I had it happen to me in my days as a union rep. But whether the wording is correct or not, “actions speak louder than words” and I have seen very little from any of these directors to show true sorrow for the unfortunates they ripped off. Swanning round on the beach in Hawaii and on the gold coast with or without a rooftop pool while others lost virtually all their savings does not show compassion. Neither does attempting to get ill gotten gains out of the country. Or claiming that you need $7000 a week to survive.

  39. Suggestion for Amanda :

    Start being humble and show some real empathy for those who have lost so much of their life savings due to the gross mismanagement of Hanover.

    Stop rubbing salt into their wounds by living the high life – because your high life is at their expense.

    Do you get it?

  40. I dont think thats fair to Ruth Madoff.Hasnt she given money back?

  41. Let’s revisit this: Just over 2 years ago, when the moratorium was granted by those blindsided investors, Mark Hotchin undertook to repay dollar-for-dollar over a period of 5 years. Without interest. He had those two wally spruikers (Waller and Wallis) to help flog the deal to the attendees at the meeting. Now, it appears, that dollar is worth less than 6 cents. The absolute audaciousness of that hard-sell, amounted to blatant subterfuge and calculated deception,
    to buy time. Because Hanover was already in its death throes.

    The moratorium allowed Hanover to escape receivership, giving Watson and Hotchin time to avoid scrutiny as to how they “ran the books”. Both would have known, then, that the investors’ money had vanished into one black hole. How else can the so-called investors’ $550m be whittled down to less than $90m, today? Much of those Hanover assets were so over-geared, there is zero equity left for the investors. And what the investors are hearing, now, are the fading screams of Allied Farmers’ Steve Alloway as he’s sucked across the doomsday boundary into his own event horizon. As time drags on, what little is left for the investors, will be further eroded by compounding interest payments to those lenders, first in the queue. Which aren’t the erstwhile Hanover investors.

    As most of the contributors see it — Amanda is very much Mark’s “other half”. Both in his business and family’s life. That email would not only have passed by her husband’s eyes, but he would have had a hand in composing it. Her writing the email, reveals that she was always a part of Hanover’s inner sanctum.

    PJR: The U.S. courts confiscated Ruthie’s assets.

    • As most of the contributors see it — Amanda is very much Mark’s “other half”. Both in his business and family’s life. That email would not only have passed by her husband’s eyes, but he would have had a hand in composing it. Her writing the email, reveals that she was always a part of Hanover’s inner sanctum.

      Merv, you have absolutely no grounds for saying any of that. And I very much doubt that Amanda would have sought her husband’s permission to write to me or that he had a hand in composing it. I certainly don’t get that feel from the email. Both your suggestions are also rather demeaning to her.

  42. The people who invested with Hangover finance, Lombard etc. were stupid – they got the higher interest rate accompanied with the higher risk – muggins me had my money with National Bank and AMP for stuff all interest/return then had to help bail out the “investors” in failed finance companies.

    Hotchin & Watson might be greedy but no more so than the wankers who invested money with them – just smarter

  43. Well said Merv.Hanover was an orchestrated ‘magic show’….’the strength to withstand ANY conditions’.

    p.s to B.E…the way Nobel prizes are dished out these days…its not inconcievable,Marshall could be a hope for a Pulitzer!

  44. Brian

    Your sarcasm aside, Mrs Hotchin seems to have the moral compass of a real estate agent at a mortgagee sale.

    There is a very good chance that some of the money is tied up in trusts (remember ‘poor’ old Bruce Judge had ‘nothing’ either – oh, except about millions tied up in family trusts that weren’t under his name), and until people like Hotchin et al show some real, tangible evidence that they are indeed sorry, they deserve every brickbat, derisive comment and public flogging that comes their way.

    • Mrs Hotchin seems to have the moral compass of a real estate agent at a mortgagee sale.

      Your evidence for saying that, Mike? [Other than the statements in the SST, which she says she never made.]

      There is a very good chance that some of the money is tied up in trusts

      Great! Let’s all accuse people of wrongdoing on ‘a very good chance’ that they did something wrong.

  45. @BE

    Hypothetical case: You’re married to a rich man and living a priviliged life. (No crime there.) It then turns out that the rich man has been less than prudent or scrupulous in his business dealings. He deserves to be villified by the community and the media. But do you? And do your children?

    Its a sad fact of life in New Zealand that entire families get dragged into the affairs of a relatives failed business venture. It happens all the time, society accepts its outcasts are fair targets.

    Right now the Hotchins have it pretty good. Their credit ratings haven’t been destroyed yet, they can still travel, and they don’t have gangs of debt collectors stalking every move they make and harassing their friends and relatives as a means of intimidation.

    But chances are thats all yet to come. To NZ’s underbelly they are a bounty and a sitting target for exploitation, and they will find no sympathy from the NZ Police who will turn a blind eye to it.

    Getting a bit of attitude from reporters pales by comparison to having your windows broken every night and cars stolen, pets disappearing, and other unmentionable nasty things that are done to vulnerable people.

    And if Hotchin can prove he’s innocent then they should be thankful for the relative tranquility of their surrounds to sit things out quietly until due process has run its course.

    But if he can’t, then Amanda will have bigger things to worry about than what the Joneses think.

  46. Take money from your neighbors, impoverish them and then, spend the ill-gotten gains on flash cars, big mansions, lavish parties, expensive overseas holidays and appear regularly on society pages showing off the ill-gotten wealth.

    To expect sympathy when the inevitable backlash comes along?

    Only in NZ!

  47. Re “The Hotchins and others involved with the Hanover Finance collapse have a lot of soul-searching to do”, and your reply “OK, but does your religion draw any distinction between the villain and the villain’s wife and children?” You say you know the answer and you know the Bible very well Brian. First of all there is nothing wrong with wealth and riches. If you have worked hard and honestly and have been blessed with wealth – then that is great. It is the attitude towards wealth that can consume one’s life. However I am not talking about the sins of the father here, I am talking about how transient and fragile life is and how one will never be satisfied in “building better and bigger barns”. Nothing lasts. My late Dad used to say – don’t bang your tent peg too deeply in this earth because you can’t take your tent with you. This morning’s story in the NZ Herald once again reminded me of this. I listened to NewstalkZB’s Kerre Woodham this morning and heard the sadness of some of the elderly Hanover investors. One Hanover investor who lost a lot of money commented that she would love to take Amanda shopping with her to show her how to buy on a budget. It would have been better for Amanda Hotchin not to have said anything, because she has now opened a “can of worms” and has made the situation worse for herself. No doubt Amanda is a very nice lady – but the reality is there are a lot of Hanover investors out there hurting while the Hotchins still seem to be very comfortable. The saying goes that we all have our crosses to bear. Unfortunately for Amanda she also has to bear the cross of her husband’s actions and thus far she has stood by him. That, and now the email to you, is what upsets the Hanover investors. A lot of them are suffering in their old age because they trusted Hanover Finance and they don’t see that the suffering Amanda Hotchins describes is the same. It is not the same level of suffering at all. I am sure there has been, and still is, a lot of soul-searching going on in the hearts of the Hanover investors. Mark Hotchins & Co do need to start soul-searching their own hearts.

    • Lesley. A reasonable comment. But I can’t find any reference in Amanda’s email to her own suffering or to wanting sympathy for herself. Her essential complaint is about statements being attributed to her which she denies ever having made.

  48. Brian

    Proof? Where in her self-serving propagandist email to you does she even address people’s concerns? It’s all about her, her, her. Me, me, me.

    Other than “Brian, the point is I do care what people say,” where else does this letter address any thoughts or wants of people who have lost money in Hanover? Heck, even that one sentence could be conveyed as her saying she cares that people are slandering/libelling her, as opposed to the ‘victims’ of Hanover’s collapse.

    I wasn’t accusing. I said there was a ‘very good chance’. If you want to play the ‘literal” game, we can all do that.

    At the end of the day, under the cold light of the law, it may be that she and her husband have done nothing wrong. But what about morally? In the US pre 1865 it was legal in some states to own slaves. I won’t even go into Hitler’s Nuremberg laws with regard to Jews. Just because something is legal, doesn’t make it right. And to demand $7,000 a week when most people get by on less than that a month, shows that the Hotchin’s moral compass is skewed to say the least.

    And if Mrs Hotchin was truly sorry, her letter should have shown some contrition instead of her “poor, poor pitiful me’ routine.

    • And if Mrs Hotchin was truly sorry, her letter should have shown some contrition instead of her “poor, poor pitiful me’ routine.
      I can’t find that anywhere in the email.

      I wasn’t accusing. I said there was a ‘very good chance’. If you want to play the ‘literal” game, we can all do that.

      Get off, Mike. You were surmising something you clearly considered reflected badly on the Hotchins – that they had stashed their money away in family trusts to avoid the people they had ripped off getting their hands on it.

  49. What concerns me as a journalist who was brought up under the old C P Scott dictum that “comment is free but facts are sacred” is that increasingly facts are simply discarded or ignored. This appears to be one of those cases. The only facts that we can report with any certainty are that Hanover went broke and thus cost its investors large amounts of money and that the Securities Commission and the Serious Fraud office are investigating but so far no one has been charged. Beyond that is speculation. A journalistic investigation of this story might begin with trying to find out why it takes so long for those bodies to lay charges. Hanover first froze depositors’ payments in July 2008. Since then, Bernie Madoff was arrested in December 2008 and sentenced six months later. The Americans took six months to do what has so far not been done in New Zealand in 29 months. But you’ll only find this story being pursued on the business pages. It’s not sexy enough for a front page. The problem is that we live in age in which talk radio and the internet in particular have become a wild west where any opinion or claim no matter how farfetched, how inflammatory or how ridiculous gets its moment in the spotlight. The shootings in Tuscon are surely testimony to that. Inevitably that culture flows over into the mainstream media. We all know the reasons, the market is fragmented and revenues are down. Good journalism costs money and that is one thing media organisations do not have. It’s a situation not likely to change much. Yet happily, as this blog thread has shown, it is also possible to use the internet to publish reasoned and intelligent critiques of journalism and for those critiques to provoke a mostly reasoned and intelligent debate. So thanks Brian — I think we all need more of this sort of analysis.

    • What concerns me as a journalist who was brought up under the old C P Scott dictum that “comment is free but facts are sacred” is that increasingly facts are simply discarded or ignored.

      Thank you, Richard – ever the voice of reason.

  50. Brian, you say
    “Based on the original Sunday Star Times story of what Amanda Hotchin was reported to have said, I wrote a searing commentary on her and her family, placing them at the very bottom of the morality scale. That in turn would have affected the opinions of others. And so on.”
    I don’t want to point the finger, but as you have been critical of the other journalists involved in this story, Tristam Clayton, The Herald and Sunday Star Times, do you not think that you should have done some research of your own before accepting their version and writing your original blog?
    What’s good for the goose , etc.

    • “Based on the original Sunday Star Times story of what Amanda Hotchin was reported to have said, I wrote a searing commentary on her and her family, placing them at the very bottom of the morality scale. That in turn would have affected the opinions of others. And so on.” I don’t want to point the finger, but as you have been critical of the other journalists involved in this story, Tristam Clayton, The Herald and Sunday Star Times, do you not think that you should have done some research of your own before accepting their version and writing your original blog?

      Don’t be silly, Ross. The statements attributed to Amanda Hotchin were in quotes. Marshall was telling us, this is what Amanda Hotchin said. Are you suggesting that I should have rung Marshall and asked him whether Amanda Hotchin actually said that? And every time I deal with a story that appears in the Herald or the Sunday Star Times or any other publication, which contains quotes from someone, should I ring the editor or the journalist and seek confirmation that the person actually used those words. If we can’t assume that quotations in our newsmedia are accurate and not distorted or invented, then we might as well all fold our tents and go home.

  51. “[An interesting little side-issue here. I realise that I’ve been treating the word media as a singular – ‘the media not only shapes etc – when it is or course the plural of medium. It’s probably common practice now, but the construction actually looks rather ugly.]”

    Brian it is either a collective noun (which is what it is when you are talking about media as a social force) or it is a noun of multitude (which is what it is when you are considering the many different media (or mediums) which make it up as in “depending on the time of day, the media take (not takes) a different approach to stories”. When you are talking about an individual source of news entertainment or information both ‘media’ and ‘medium’ are singulars in common use, but I would hesitate to use ‘media’ in this way for fear of distracting those attached to the traditional form.

  52. @Brian: True… But they could easily have over the last few years!

    At the end of the day, it’s all about perception… The Hotchins are painted as greedy, careless and living the high life at the expense of others, spending time in Hawaii and the Gold Coast, asking for $6000/week and requesting that their 2 luxury cars get exported to Australia.

    People’s perception is unlikely to change because Amanda Hotchin wrote a nice and well-balanced letter blaming the NZ media… To be frank I do agree with her that this media frenzy is no more than a witch-hunt against the Hotchins (it was the same with Tony Veitch!) and that in NZ, some newspapers – especially the Sunday papers – aren’t worth more than UK tabloids and don’t show any sign of journalistic ethics.

    However, such a letter is all talk, there’s no substance to what she’s saying… If she truly cares about her children, then firstly she should explain to them why their father is so hated, how greed and his actions led them to flee their country. Truth hurts sometimes but her words don’t sound true to me, it’s just a piece of poor BR with no effect, unless backed up by action.

    She should convince her husband to front up, come back to NZ and find a proper work, etc… But this letter is an empty shell, she shows no genuine remorse on behalf of her couple, there’s nothing in it that tells me that she truly regret their actions as a couple (lavish birthday party, etc).

    The Hotchin couple have shown no empathy at all up to now, just arrogance and greed and if they hope for redemption because of this letter, I think they’re kidding themselves!

    A letter saying: “Mark and I have decided to come back to NZ and front up, Mark will assist the SFO with their investigation and we as a couple are willing to sell some of our assets so that we can repay Hanover investors. We are truly sorry for our actions over the last few years and the distress it has caused. We apologise to the investors and acknowledge that we took some poor decisions that have contributed to this smear campaign. We genuinely want to make good and are hoping for a fair process”. That would be ballsy and laudable call (one that would applaud), a great piece of PR (one that would shut the media up) and that may turn NZers around… However it would take courage to do so, which is something that the Hotchins haven’t demonstrated!

    Anything else is bullshit IMHO.

    • If she truly cares about her children, then firstly she should explain to them why their father is so hated, how greed and his actions led them to flee their country.

      She may well have done that. Neither you nor I know.

      She should convince her husband to front up, come back to NZ and find a proper work, etc [And she should write a letter saying] Mark and I have decided to come back to NZ and front up etc.

      I just love all this high -minded advice for Amanda, so easy to hand out, so difficult to follow. Or impossible in this case. Hotchin’s assets have been frozen by the Securities Commission. Neither he nor his wife can sell anything. This matter will undoubtedy end up in the courts. Perhaps you could be a little more patient. Perhaps the precept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ could apply – at least to Hotchin’s wife.

  53. Ah, the Great Kiwi Clobbering Machine. Pity the person(s) who are raise the ire of this unthinking, self-righteous behemoth.

    The point that everything here has forgotten is that (Mr) Hotchins has not been tried nor convicted. his assets have been frozen as a precautionary measure – but otherwise he is innocent of legal wrongdoing.

    My personal concern is, as Brian has rightly raised, the behaviour of the media in all this. Now that is a matter worth consideration.

    Unfortunately, the media, unlike Mr Hotchins, will not probably not be scrutinised to the same degree.

    As for Jonathan Marshall – he is an 18 year old?!?!

  54. The mantra of the modern ,sharp ‘businessman’….
    our m.o may be morally or ethically repugnant,but its legal, so foxtrot oscar….losers!

  55. Are you doing their PR?

    “I can’t find that anywhere in the email.”

    Really? Maybe you aren’t looking hard enough.

    “It upset me greatly”
    ” the point is I do care what people say.”
    ” The constant media and public comment about my husband, Hanover and myself has become a hate campaign.”
    ” In my sad naive way I was one the many New Zealanders who believed if it was in the national news paper it must be true, media influences the thoughts and feeling of a nation and this is a very powerful position to be in, surely there should be someway to ensure balance.”
    ” a tabloid media campaign motivated by hate and the greed of papers and broadcasters that simply want to make money from everyone else’s misery.”

    The last one is a real hoot. She doesn’t think her husband’s actions haven’t caused misery? or that his prime purpose was to make money?

    “Get off, Mike. You were surmising something you clearly considered reflected badly on the Hotchins – that they had stashed their money away in family trusts to avoid the people they had ripped off getting their hands on it.”

    Kind of. I am surmising that if their assets were not frozen, and they have access to $7000 a week, and they can afford to send two luxury cars over to Australia, then their means are not as dire as some of her husband’s former investors find themselves….

    • Are you doing their PR?

      I’ve already answered that, Mike. No, we aren’t. Neither I nor Judy have ever met either of them.

      Re her quotes: ‘It hurt me greatly.’ She is referring to my original post in which I accused her of being at the bottom of the moral spectrum; ‘The point is I do care what people say.’ Is that asking for sympathy?

      The rest of what she says about the media is pretty accurate. That Mark Hotchin has a lot to answer for is undoubedly true, but it is also true that that much of what is said on talk back, on websites like this and in some publications reflects a lynch-mob mentality rather than informed criticism.

  56. ‘If we can’t assume that quotations in our newsmedia are accurate and not distorted or invented, then we might as well all fold our tents and go home.’…..you’re kidding right!!

    • ‘If we can’t assume that quotations in our newsmedia are accurate and not distorted or invented, then we might as well all fold our tents and go home.’…..you’re kidding right!!

      By which I assume that you think we can’t assume that quotations in our newsmedia are not distored or invented. Precisely what Amanda Hotchin is claiming in the case of Jonathan Marshall’s article.

  57. ‘ have long enjoyed and respected your work on radio and television’…..amazing what a bit of flannel will do.’ Neither he nor his wife can sell anything’……….so how can you validate this….why can’t Mrs Hotchin sell…’anything’?

    • ‘ have long enjoyed and respected your work on radio and television’…..amazing what a bit of flannel will do

      I stopped reading at that point, you offensive prick!

  58. “The rest of what she says about the media is pretty accurate. That Mark Hotchin has a lot to answer for is undoubedly true, but it is also true that that much of what is said on talk back, on websites like this and in some publications reflects a lynch-mob mentality rather than informed criticism.”

    Fair enough…

  59. “So difficult to follow”

    Well they can always come back to NZ, can’t they? They can show genuine remorse, can’t they?

    “Perhaps you could be a little more patient”

    Well I think the NZ public has been up to now… But patience has its limits (esp. for elder investors).

    “Innocent until proven guilty”

    True… But ethics apply to everyone (journalists and others)… There is no doubt that some of their actions and choices – as a couple – were morally wrong! Shame she doesn’t admit it, instead deciding to focus on the NZ media.

    I’m not saying Mark Hotchin is guilty of anything but I’m saying some of their decisions over the last year or so were way of the mark and inappropriate. The bottom line is those poor choices have led to them being perceived the way they are.

    No misunderstanding, I once again agree that this is a witch-hunt and media aren’t squeaky clean… I also feel very sorry for the kids because I have no doubt they’re paying a terrible price (and they aren’t responsible for the actions of their dad).

    But – and I quote you – “the best advice for anyone dealing with the media is: 1) be straightforward, 2) tell the truth, 3) admit your mistakes”. Well IMHO she hasn’t followed your advice, with regards to points 1 and 3.

  60. I don’t think puerile name calling is an endearing trait …do you?

    • I don’t think puerile name calling is an endearing trait …do you?

      But you think it acceptable to accuse me of being so shallow that I would a) publish an unsolicited email from Amanda Hotchin b) write a lengthy post about the background to the email and c) spend hours responding to comments in an attempt to bring some fairness and rationality to the debate – all because she began by saying, ‘I have long enjoyed and respected your work on radio and television’. Endearing or not, my comment stands.

  61. “The rest of what she says about the media is pretty accurate. That Mark Hotchin has a lot to answer for is undoubedly true, but it is also true that that much of what is said on talk back, on websites like this and in some publications reflects a lynch-mob mentality rather than informed criticism.”

    100% agree though and at the end of the day, I’m just hoping for a fair process, that justice prevails and that investors will be able to recup a bit.

  62. I do like this, from Leslie: It would have been better for Amanda Hotchin not to have said anything, because she has now opened a “can of worms” and has made the situation worse for herself.

    How very true. Rather than engender a sense of empathy and/or sympathy for her distressing “plight”, her email has aroused more antipathy towards her and her husband. The — expected — reaction is not so much of jealousy as offense, a kind of ugly blasphemy.

    I forgot about this, too: Not long after having wrangled the moratorium off the investors, the Hotchins hightailed it, shouting all their friends on a no-expenses-spared junket at the exclusive Vomo Is. resort in Fiji, for Mark’s 50th birthday bash. It was their unique — and inimitable — way of expressing their heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all their investors, for throwing Hanover a lifeline.

    [Yeah, I forgot about “media” being a collective noun. And I wasn’t being smart-assed with my “interloper” remark. Using “medium” does create confusion]

  63. Renting 1.5 floors of an obviously expensive residence in one of the most exclusive suburb of Gold Coast.

    She cares. Yeah Right.

  64. Amanda Hotchins complains about the quality of information fed to the public.

    “Strong enough to withstand any conditions”

  65. Brian,
    While I understand that many will make the comment that the media have lead or become pivital in a hate campaign against the Hotchins because so many have lost their investments.
    What has been reported on the Finacial advisors that have given advice to invest in these failed Finance companies, while I know that Hotchin and Watson were at the top surely the Finacial advisors have recommended all these investors to put their money in these organisations for a period of time, 3 yrs or 5 yrs or whatever.

    While the financial advisors can’t be held responsible for a business failing they are supposed to have the Financial knowledge and sense about how a business is managed and operated within the economic environment arn’t they, after all this is how they earn high commisions from the Investors.
    The Financial Advisors involved just seem to be conspicuosly absent while the Print Media have targeted the easy targets being the Hotchin’s.

    I’m not saying that I support the Hotchins, just feel that the focus seems singular on the Hotchins.

    William

    • Brian, While I understand that many will make the comment that the media have lead or become pivital in a hate campaign against the Hotchins because so many have lost their investments.

      Interesting and absolutely valid point, William. Thanks

  66. ‘But you think it acceptable to accuse me of being so shallow that I would a) publish an unsolicited email from Amanda Hotchin b) write a lengthy post about the background to the email and c) spend hours responding to comments in an attempt to bring some fairness and rationality to the debate – all because she began by saying, ‘I have long enjoyed and respected your work on radio and television’. Endearing or not, my comment stands’…….Brian imo you make far too many assumptionsi.e’By which I assume that you think we can’t assume ‘….and also a,b,and c.(as above)Lets face it you do have a very healthy ego!

  67. Isn’t there a very simple question that ought to be asked of Mrs. Hotchin: “Are you currently, or have you ever been, the beneficiary of a ‘related party loan’ given by any of the Hanover group of companies and if so, to what amounts have these loans been made?”

  68. Brian I too have enjoyed your work over many years, however I feel her email to you has highlighted a critical lack of empathy and shown her to be remarkably out of touch with “the common people”.

    Many of the comments have diverted to more personal comments and fickle language argments, however for me there are two major points:

    – given the circumstances around Hanover, how could the Hotchins possibly think it would be perceived as ok for them to live in a beachfront apartment..access to rooftop pool or not..surely some humility ought to have been employed..this sort of decision-making takes all credibiltiy away from her claims to care

    – she comes across as intelligent and I understand they have been together as a couple for a numebr of years..and not so long ago rolled in some very high circles..I cant accept for a minute that she can be 100% disassociated from her husbands business dealings..she appeared very happy to lap up the benefits not only during the good times but well into the period where the wheels began to fall off

    I appreciate your thoughts around the media’s portrayal, and you certainly have the credentials to be a judge, however feel the two points I highlight leave the Hotchins wide open for criticism be it 100% fair or not.

  69. Asking the question, what is more likely, that the NZ media set out to deliberately oversell a story, when doing so would fit perfectly with the public narrative of ‘scum’ finance men, or whether Amanda would actually make such a insensitive comment to a journalist (even if she privately believed it), I’d be far more likely to believe that journalists wrote the stories to a pre-written script. It’s much more fun to believe that investors are out of hand due to scheming and malevolent, genuinely evil money men, rather than poor decision making by such individuals.

    it is unfortunate for Amanda that STT and NZH aren’t published in England, otherwise she could sue for defamation, and then claim on costs.

  70. “Do you actually read what you’ve written before you publish it? More importantly, do you think about what you’ve written? Apparently not.”
    I don’t often stick my neck out but in this case I’m willing to. If they have mortgaged the house on Waiheke for $12 million then where has that money gone? They claim to have no money to live on and therefore it seems to me most likely that it has gone into a trust somewhere. I may not be literally 100% sure but every accountant in NZ would have advised them to hide that moolah ASAP and our trust law gives them a huge wall to hide it behind.
    Jonathan Marshall is not 18. http://www.facebook.com/MarshallNZ
    It’ll all come out in the wash as they say.
    In the meantime Amanda Hotchin may find it a bit difficult living down Marshall’s quote without taking him to court. It’s almost as good as “let them eat cake”.

  71. There definitely is a massive difference of treatment and media coverage between Mark Hotchin and Allan Hubbard for example… The bottom line is that they were both directors of finance companies that collapsed, and yet both individuals don’t seem to be treated the same way in terms of fairness/harshness and the objectivity of media can be questionned for sure.

    Why? What is the reason for this other than the choices the Hotchins have made as a couple over the last year or so? It all comes down to this: Hubbard – by his actions – has shown genuine care and remorse, while the Hotchins haven’t (and this letter will not make any difference whatsoever).

    The Hotchins’ aren’t hated because Hanover collapsed but because of their perceived lavish lifestyle, perceived lack of remorse, perceived lack of respect for investors and perceived arrogance… There is no smoke without fire.

    In her letter, Amanda Hotchin letter has deliberately ignored some fact and chose to blame the media instead. Regardless of whether the media treatment is fair or not, the Hotchins are the primary responsible for this situation, how the story is covered and how they’re depicted IMHO.

  72. Scurrilous rumour, about Hotchie swanning off to Vomo Island for his 50th birthday. It wasnt Vomo, it was Valentines in Mt Eden. And he never made 3 return visits to the buffet table heaping his plate up with oysters in the half shell, each time. Lies, lies and more damned lies — it was rocket salad. And being the b/day boy, his meal was on the house.

    • Scurrilous rumour, about Hotchie swanning off to Vomo Island for his 50th birthday. It wasnt Vomo, it was Valentines in Mt Eden

      Aha, the inside story, I take it.

  73. C’mon Richard Harman, Bernie Made Off is in prison because he copped an early guilty plea. Hotchin might be in prison quickly too if he pleaded guilty – but he hasn’t actually yet been charged with anything has he? Richard you are the first person I have ever heard suggest that the American Legal System might be quicker or more efficient than ours – or did I just miss the joke?

  74. 74

    It really is time to ‘back off’ all the vitriol and take a long hard look at ourselves. We don’t need to go too far back to see the tragic outcome in the U.S. of Mr Hotchins namesake, Mark (Madoff), following the constant media hounding of his father Bernie. None of us would like that on our conscience. Innocent until proven otherwise, surely?

  75. I feel sick to my stomach when thinking about how some of the more elderly members of our community have clearly been hoodwinked by these smug ‘leaders’ of NZ business.
    They don’t have time to regroup. Here’s hoping Hotchin will eventually be forced to own his actions.

  76. Live by media Die by media

  77. Regretfully I must agree with Whaleoil Mr Edwards,you are a pedant,in the best possible taste of course.

  78. Brian, I dropped out of contributing a few months ago, because I felt disappointed at that time in the quality of your analysis, and didn’t feel it matched the reputation you had earned in the early ’70s (a bit before my time).

    Let me offer my humble apologies for my ignorant judgment. You are the voice of reason and sanity in the face of a rabid mob assembled with pitch forks and lighted torches. Makes me bloody ashamed to be a Kiwi.

    People: There used to be a system in place to deal with folks like the Hotchinses. It was called debtors prison. Then folk realised the encouraging of the necessary element of risk which drives our business systems, not to mention our lifestyles, was better served by a financial and legal arrangement known as the limited liability company.

    Sorry to bore you with the details of the History of Business 101, but anyone who did not take that into account when investing with the Hotchins and Watsons of this world didn’t deserve the gains they reaped when the going was good.

    Yeah, it’s bloody tragic the ruined lives. Yeah, in hindsight it is obvious Hotchin (like a lot of others) was incompetent at managing risk. But no one has yet produced a smoking gun to prove he (or Amanda who had no direct or legal responsibility) is a crook. And I still believe, under British law one is innocent until they are proven guilty – or Irish and Catholic :-)

    Brian is right – if Hotchin was a crook, we deserve to know, and the wheels of justice are rolling. Yeah, it is pretty obvious the proper regulations and protections were not in place. But the best insurance against financial disaster is a wise and educated public. Most of the comments here are subversive an counter-productive to that process.

    Setting Amanda Hotchin up as some later-day Marie Antoinette is bloody shameful. I thought Kiwis were better than this. Obviously we still easily revert to village idiot status with the right stimuli.

    The point BE is making is that the ball is now well and truly in the SSTs court to front up with the evidence that she did indeed come out with the Kiwi equivalent of “Let them eat cake”.

  79. @ The Good Shepherd – Interesting observation, given the fall out from the Arizona shooting and the implied involvement of the media and its influence on the shooter. The Fourth Estate is a joke, the lack of neutrality and influence that large and powerful media companies have over democracy today, and it goes unnoticed by the majority. I wonder if Paul Holmes will continue to publically support Sarah Palin following the Arizona shootings and whether Fox News will continue with its campaign against the Democrats in the US.

  80. Interesting comments. Why would anyone invest their life savings in a Finance Company? Is it not an insult to intelligence of Investors to assume they did not read the fine print and calculate the risks. Whilst not an investor in Hanover, I lost money in a Superannuation Fund. Did I know the risk of Managed Funds. Certainly, but I decided to opt for the lesser interest rate and have the security of a Trading Bank for the bulk of my savings. Do most of us not enjoy the deposable income we have available. Maybe not as plentiful and lavish as the wealthy enjoy, but nevertheless enough to upgrade a car, purchase a new television etc.
    The publicity that has ensued since the collapse of Hanover is indeed nothing short of a witch hunt.
    No doubt in hindsight Mark regrets the move to Hawaii, nothing the press loves more than the thrill of a chase, but keep buiness away from family members. Amanda, rightly has concerns for the family, her children are no doubt missing their Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles, Cousins, friends and all things familiar. Surroundings and possessions don’t equate to happiness. Should a thought not be given to their innocent relations in NZ who have to suffer and worry as the saga continues? The media have in my opinion made it impossible for them to return to NZ. Judgement should be reserved for the outcome of the inquiry, not a Media Jury . Let all of us who enjoyed the dividends in the good times, ponder on the sensibility of the investments we chose in the future.

  81. well Kimbo,the quality of your analysis leaves alot to be desired too.’People: There used to be a system in place to deal with folks like the Hotchinses. It was called debtors prison. ‘…explain this nonsense…if you can!

  82. I’ve just read the whaleoil “contribution” to this discussion… lol epic fail!!

  83. “…” a tabloid media campaign motivated by hate and the greed of papers and broadcasters that simply want to make money from everyone else’s misery.”

    The last one is a real hoot. She doesn’t think her husband’s actions haven’t caused misery? or that his prime purpose was to make money? …” – Mike (January 10th, 2011 at 14:59 Post)

    It occurs to me, Mike, that this is no longer an issue regarding the Hotchins. This story has evolved beyond that point (though it may still be decided in a proper Court of Law).

    It seems that this issue has been distilled down to something just as important – if not more so – than investors losing their money: media credibility.

    Can we trust what is printed/broadcast?

    Are journalists held to account (as the rest of us are, through our actions) for incorrectly presenting a story?

    Are even rogues and villains deserving of the truth – and not fanciful stories/quotes attributed to them, simply to sell a newspaper or gain viewers/listeners?

    We should care greatly about what Ms Hotchins has claimed, because if she is correct, then lies have been told.

    I am one villager who is setting aside his pitchfork and torch, and stepping away from the mob.

  84. “Setting Amanda Hotchin up as some later-day Marie Antoinette is bloody shameful. I thought Kiwis were better than this. Obviously we still easily revert to village idiot status with the right stimuli”.

    I woulda thought business-minded with your take. If true justice were to prevail, someone should be sounding the clarion call for the knitters and rummaging around for a wicker basket.

  85. …and I’m tempted to take a place at the front of the queue sharpening the guillotine blade, Merv, if the SST calls Ms Hotchins’ bluff, and front up with the confirmation she did indeed say it.

    Which means the editor of the SST should be sacked for incompetence if they don’t milk it for all it’s worth with a headline like, “Amanda Hotchin tries to deceive Brian Edwards: we reveal the truth” plastered across the front page.

    So I’d suggest those who are making “there is no smoke without fire” insinuations re the Hotchins should watch the SST very carefully this weekend…

    All those who try and compare her husband unfavourably with the ‘perception’ of Hubbard are still letting their heart rule their head – which is, I believe, a contravention of the first rule of investing.

    I personally think Fran O’Sullivan’s take on the ‘cult of Alan Hubbard’ is about right. The same mentality that persuaded people that otherwise capable, salt-of-the-earth folk like Pinetree and Verna Meads, and Richard Long were in anyway qualified as ‘financial experts’.

    Of course the Hotchins had an opulent lifestyle – that is usually the reason people engage in high risk, 2nd tier and above finance – to fund the boats and the houses, etc. And as long as the investors were making money, nobody cared…

    If you read “poor me” into Amanda Hotchin’s dignified and considered correspondence to BE, you will probably never be satisfied. There is no amount of mea culpas that will restore the lost funds. What can Hotchin possibly say if he fronts? “I’m sorry. I was dumb”.

    If you want that, maybe he would be well advised to contract Brian and Judy, and get on with it (Oh, wait – no he can’t – his funds have been frozen). An apology would actually be a lot more than Hubbard has done, because the sweet old man from Timaru is still blaming others!

    Even if Hotchin apologised, there would still be those who accused him of manipulating the public via the media.

  86. Pertinent question for the lynch-mob on this blog post…..

    How many of you have personally lost money in Hanover and if so how much?

    That’s all.

  87. Interesting…

    You ask people what the Hotchins should do to make amends, they offer suggestions and you then sneer at their suggestions…

  88. @chris73: What suggestions do they or Amanda Hotchin offer?

  89. @chris73: My apologies, I just realised that your comment was probably intended to BE…

  90. No worries Fred, I should have been more specific in my posting

  91. Question for the Hotchin supporters (there are obviously a few, judging by the contents of their postings) – what has Amanda actually done to show she cares?

    So far life was as per usual for her, partying, holidaying, spending like the money will never run out – intentionally or unintentionally designed to rub salt into the wounds of those who have been devastated by Hanover’s demise.

    Kinda reminds me of Allan Hubbard’s “it’s all kosher”.

  92. “Question for the Hotchin supporters (there are obviously a few, judging by the contents of their postings) – what has Amanda actually done to show she cares?” – M Smyth

    If, by “Hotchin supporters”, you include me, then you are drawing an unnecessary conclusion from my posts.

    I am not a Hotchin supporter.

    I am, however, a supporter of fairness and truthful reporting in the media.

    I’m also a supporter of The System treating people fairly.

    One doesn’t have to be a “supporter” to believe in fair play.

  93. And in case anyone for a moment harbours thoughts that I am sympathetic to the Hotchins’ – I am not.

    Should Mark Hotchin be found guilty in a Court of law for alleged wrong-doing, I would be happy to see his assets and wealth stripped and used to compensate his alleged victims.

    The same goes for other Directors and owners of Hanover.

  94. There are days when I’m grateful for being poor enough that I have no money too invest.

    And yes, Whaleoil – epic fail.

  95. When proof of Amanda[Madoff]Hotchins Hawaiin statement is presented by the SST,as no doubt it will be,I shall be keenly interested to see how much crow will be eaten by the Hotchin supporters on this site.

  96. I knew, I just knew, that as soon as I criticised someone else’s grammar I would make my own mistake. This happens every time. Seriously, when will I ever learn?

    …TO invest.

  97. I’m looking forward to reading the SST this weekend and see 1) whether they respond to Amanda Hotchin and 2) if yes, what they come up with… If this media story (i.e. the famous quote “we don’t have to justify where we get our money from or what it is spent on to anyone. I don’t care what anyone says”) is indeed bullshit, then make no mistake, this would be unacceptable and a very poor piece of journalism.

    BUT the fact is that Amanda Hotchin is focusing on one media report only and is voluntarily omitting other articles, such as the lavish 50th birthday party, the fact that they’re asking for $7000/week and have asked for their luxurious cars to be shipped across the ditch.

    Madam Hotchin, are you also denying those “facts”? If no, this is kind of a lie by omission, isn’t it?

    You can’t bullshit people by diverting their attention and expect them to forget about the rest… If those “facts” were also untrue, I would have thought Madam Hotchin would deny them as well… but she didn’t.

    Once again, I agree that you and your family are “victims” of a witch-hunt by NZ media and I too question their fairness and objectivity. But I still believe that your husband’s arrogance/disdain and his lack of genuine remorse are the root cause of all this media frenzy.

  98. Lets not forget Mr Watson , is he Batman or Robin ?
    Without prejudicing our exceptional legal system both need to have their day in court but given the magnitude of the loss for NZ investors the media are quite entitled to vent for the public the facts speak for themselves

    Can’t wait for South Canterbury Finance makes this look straight foward ie greed vs systemic accounting fraud

  99. Cactus Kate: Oh, what you’re saying, is that unless you had Christmas lunch down at the cavernous Vector Arena, you shouldn’t comment, negatively, towards the Hotchins.

    I detect no lynch-mob mentality here. I sense outrage and disbelief, by Mme. Hotchie’s attempts to parlay her — inverted — conceit, in playing the faux humbling card. Re-read the opening lines of her e-mail, where she’s stroking B.E’s ego to ingratiate herself to him; laying the foundations for her self-pitying construct. Or rather, her widening disconnect. Her vanity has been pricked, that’s what it’s all about.

    Her email reminds me of this quote:

    “Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others”.

  100. Well stated, Merv.

    The media has done a public service in highlighting how callous and uncaring the Hotchins have been towards the Hanover victims since the collapse of Hanover.

    “You can lie to some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. You cannot lie to all of the people all of the time and get away with it.”

  101. “I detect no lynch-mob mentality here…Re-read the opening lines of her e-mail, where she’s stroking B.E’s ego to ingratiate herself to him…”.

    Umm, when simple courtesy, spliced with the direct, but essentially restrained expression of displeasure, is reframed like you have, Merv, then I think there is very clearly a lynch mob mentality.

    The fact that folks are being labelled ‘Hotchin supporters’ kinda gives it away…

  102. …and maybe, M. Smyth, the NZ media has done a good job in terms of its coverage of the Hotchins. “Muck-raking” journalism was originally, I believe, a badge of honour for those who took on the fat cats on behalf of the abused little people.

    However, muckrakers, more than any other branch of the media, have to stick to the facts. Which is why the next move is up to the SST. They now have a moral obligation to front with the proof. Like you said, “You can lie to some of the people all of the time..”

  103. Did Amanda Hotchin speak the lines quoted in the SSTs? Or did Jonathon Marshall make it up?
    If Ms Hotchins did not say what the SSTs reported then, regardless of her husbands and her alleged wrong doings, she has every right to complain.
    It could be that a journalist has felt it okay to fabricate because public sympathy will go with his words.
    And contributors here prove that lynch mobs need little encouragement.

  104. what alot of people forget is…’I don’t owe anyone anything…..the company does’!(Mark Hotchin)

  105. Pathetic, but understandable…’Because, if you want advice on dealing with the media, there is simply no one better.’You’ve got the mana….shes got the money!

  106. Hey there Mrs.H – sick of reading all these blogs yet?

    My advice is to get a good book and go kick back on the beach for a while.

    Can certainly recommend John Steinbeck’s novel ‘The Gapes of Wrath’.

    • Hey there Mrs.H – sick of reading all these blogs yet? My advice is to get a good book and go kick back on the beach for a while.

      Pretty good advice, I’d say.

  107. Well said Fred @9.30…my sentiments exactly, however you capture them more eloquently than I managed!

    Yes the media are being a bit OTT, but lets not forget the root cause of it all.

    If Jonathon Marshall told some porkies then by all means nail him for it, but he didnt organise the party in Fiji, build the monstrosity on Paritai, head off to Hawaii when the going got tough, request $7000/wk for “reasonable” expenses nor request two flashy-dan cars…need I go on?

    Media = sensationalist hacks (tell us something we didnt know)

    Hotchins = out-of-touch narcissists

    Both are wrong, one doesnt excuse the other!

  108. What a fantastic summary of the two separate elements by RJ, especially the words ‘sensationalist’ and ‘narcissists’.

  109. I wonder if the Hotchins were quite so scrupulous about media accuracy when they were getting more flattering coverage back in their glory days. Somehow I suspect not.

    Maybe, as she says, people will revise their opinions of them when “the full story is revealed” – but somehow I personally doubt if they will come away looking like Gandhi and Mother Theresa, but I look forward to revelations of their frugality, generosity and honesty.

    Why wait, I think they should “reveal” these facts right away.

  110. 110

    Amanda Hotchin’s behaviour reminds me of someone who’s driven drunk, wiping out an eldely couple on a pedestrian-crossing, she gets out of her Merc, stumbles to the front of the car, throws herself on to the bonnet, wailing and carrying-on about the damage to the bumper and headlights.

  111. No Merv what I am saying is there’s really only 17000 people who are justified to have this level of hatred towards the woman so I was asking those on this thread to disclose that.

    The rest of you are best to remember that unlike SCF the non investing taxpayer hasn’t been asked to pay a cent for the failure of Hanover.

  112. And right back at the beginning of this thread, Danyl Mclauchlan “Cognitive dissonance city”.

    Prescient, Danyl.

  113. well done kimbo. agree with core of be’s comment. lynch mob through and through.
    to tell untruths and write misleading comments in major newspapers is just so very wrong. no matter the feeling, gossip, angst, disgust, horror, the news has to be true. are the people who bought valueless shares now buying valueless newspapers? look for value when you spend your money and don’t listen to liars.

  114. …thinking some more, bje, about legal duties and moral obligations, because I think that cuts to the heart of the narrative the media are pitching re the Hotchins, and the distress her family is undergoing.

    Mark (but not Amanda!) Hotchin had a duty and obligation to manage the assets of Hanover to the best of his ability, and not engage in fraud or financial malpractice. So far no one has proved he didn’t, although watch this space…

    However, he DID NOT have a legal or moral duty to ensure folks didn’t lose their money. No financial endeavour can ever do that. Even “government guarantees” are based on the same vagaries of human nature, perception, confidence, and co-operation that Hotchin sought to navigate for his, and others advantage.

    Everyone who invested were supposedly aware or willfully ignorant of the risks. I don’t say that with any schadenfreude. Nevertheless, no one seems to have bothered then with the amount of his fees, his other income streams, and his acquired assets. What moral right do they have to do so now?

    Seems that it legally (and possibly morally)belongs to the Hotchin household, and if Amanda is to be believed, the ‘wealth’ is greatly exaggerated. Certainly the castle on Paratai Drive is no longer worth $30 million, and there is also a big difference between ‘assets’ and ‘liquidity’ in making good the losses of others. If the Hotchins should cough up, why not also the media organisations who profited out of selling Hanover advertising?

    If you think the Hotchins have a moral obligation to suffer the media pitching the, ‘give to relieve hurting investors, rather than living the life of opulence’, story, then how much do they give? Do they remain in pauperhood (as they may already be, media reports to the contrary) for the rest of their lives? Seems like debtors prison by indirect means.

    One final question: If Amanda Hotchin had kept quiet, and taken the perfectly valid Mark “no comment” Todd PR route, I could agree her family’s financial arrangements and details are none of my business. However, now that she has spoken out in a public forum, and used those fateful words in her email to BE, “For the record”, followed by some of the household’s financial details, is she now morally obligated to open the books? I’d say yes…

  115. “well Kimbo,the quality of your analysis leaves alot to be desired too.’People: There used to be a system in place to deal with folks like the Hotchinses. It was called debtors prison. ‘…explain this nonsense…if you can!”.

    Thought it was self evident. Then again, given the tone of your question, I suspect I’m wasting my time, because your comment seems to be from someone who wants to be dissatisfied with whatever expalnation I give. Nevertheless, on the off-chance your question is truly motivated by a spirit of inquiry, and because you asked:

    Have you never wondered, Les, what that term “Ltd” which is plastered all over the place means? If you don’t, and you are representative of the average Kiwi’s financial understanding, then it is no wonder people lose money…

    In the bad old days (refer to the assorted works of Charles Dickens for some background colour. Maybe I’m being flippant, and I mean no disrespect to those who lost money, but Les, you’ve brassed me off, and also given me an open invitation), if a business like Hanover went bust, the owners were legally liable to make good on all the losses, and they were kept in a prison until they did.

    In contrast, all those who invested in Hanover were given paperwork before they handed over their cash, explaining there was ‘limited liability’. That meant that whatever amount of personal loot Hotchin put in, or assets he offered as security, that was the limit he was liable to lose if it all went pear-shaped. Which, it would appear, he did.

    But not the house on Paratai Drive, or the Porsche (or Audi, or Jag, or whatever it is he drives…)

  116. “Nevertheless, no one seems to have bothered then with the amount of his fees, his other income streams, and his acquired assets. What moral right do they have to do so now?”

    Because there were never any profits; they were all predictive. But the fees were very real; so, since profits never materialised, you can only conclude — Hanover was looted to fund the acquisition of Hotchin’s assets. Hanover was totally at the time of the moratorium meeting. I know that. But Mark stood before all, solemn-faced, and gave an undertaking to repay the full amount.

    “If the Hotchins should cough up, why not also the media organisations who profited out of selling Hanover advertising?”

    Someone else has already mentioned this, referring to it as “blood money”. It depends, in part, if the media financial reporters knew something was amiss. But I’m not sure how they can be held responsible, though. The media aren’t the regulators; that was the domain of the Securities Commission.

    “Do they remain in pauperhood (as they may already be, media reports to the contrary) for the rest of their lives?”

    Do you really believe that? I’m betting, some of the Hanover asset discounted sell-downs can be traced back to Hotchin (and Watson). And much of his wealth will be hidden away, anyway.
    Hanover’s “First-ranked debenture holders” didn’t know that it was the same as “Unadulterated junk bond holders”. Such was the deception.

    “One final question: If Amanda Hotchin had kept quiet, and taken the perfectly valid Mark “no comment” Todd PR route,”

    Amanda, going public, was to use the blog site as a touchstone to test the temperature of the waters. She took off her Jimmy Choo shoe, to dip her big toe in the pool of public sentiment; only to find that she’s, still, a lightning rod for renewed public anger and disgust. There’s no “lynch-mob” here; so, please, set aside the fanciful expression.

    Amanda’s e-mail: “Only recently did I come across your media site, after following a link concerning me from another website.”

    “How can that be? The site was mentioned by Carolyn Ming-Yee, in her reporting. Amanda would’ve known about “Reflections on not caring in Hawaii” at the time it appeared. And in the event, she didn’t, her friends and acquaintances etc., etc., would’ve have alerted her to the blog’s existence. Not credible at all.

  117. Jeez Merv! After that blog I bet the grumpy old contrarian B.E. will close of this particular blog. What’s next I wonder? How blessed we are to have such media peronalities such as Paul Holmes.

  118. “Do I really believe they are in pauperhood?”

    Dunno, Merv. I could well believe they are asset ‘rich’, but cash poor, needing $7k a week to service their personal debts on those assets. Not that I have too much sympathy for Mark Hotchin if that is the case, although they merit some if the SFO doesn’t come up with a result after freezing their assets. But probably still much less than is due to those who lost money investing in Hanover.

    As far as your request for me to set aside the ‘lynch-mob’ analogy, I in turn request you distinguish between relevant fact and rabid opinion, and offer me some of the former, rather than pretty much nothing but the later, and I’ll consider doing so.

    As far as the rest of your probably defamatory offering, unadorned as it is by a single shred of evidence, and as I doubt very much you have access to the relevant facts…I thought about responding, Merv, but then realised there are times when it is best to avert one’s gaze, and quickly move to the other side of the road, and depart the vicinity as quickly as possible.

  119. There was no good reason for the Sec Com to slap a freeze on Hotchins’ assets, was there? None at all. A badge of honour for him, though, he being the Very First.

  120. “There was no good reason for the Sec Com to slap a freeze on Hotchins’ assets, was there? None at all”.

    Dunno Merv. Sure hope so, because I prefer for the departments of the Ministry of Justice and Commerce to be competent. But then, as the Hanover saga shows, people and organisations aren’t necessarily competent, just because they should be, or say they are

    However, as others have pointed out repeatedly, we will have to wait and see as the justice system takes its course. Certainly Amanda Hotchin is confident: “I trust you will have the chance to revise your opinion of me once the full story of what happened to Hanover is revealed in the coming months”.

    However, as your attitude, along with your loose assessment of what constitutes evidence seems to be that of an inquisitor in the Star Chamber, I rather think you have corroborated the ‘lynch-mob’ analogy.

  121. I’m sure there has been many articles taken out of context in their situation.

    However, regardless of what this email says, the fact is actions speak louder than words.

    I’m certain Amanda never started out this way, sadly she had the misfortune of meeting Mark. But to suggest she was naive to all of this, I find hard to believe.

    Part of me wanted Mark not to fail here, because of the hardworking decent living people who lost their life savings, they deserve something back. But it was apparent that any dealings which were to continue under Hotchin and Watson would just continue to fund their extravagant lifestyle.

    Is it a position of envy? Not so much, there maybe state of the art cars, luxury holidays, mingling with the A set, jewellery, designer clothing and a life of lavishness but it is an empty life with clinger ons, rare in genuine friends, followed by marital distress from various extramarital affairs.

    As it all comes crashing down you might actually find yourself as a person again, and you’ll find out who your real friends are.

    I think it would be good for them, for anyone really, who has had it all, to trim back to basics.

    Regardless of my view point, right or wrong, it really is time for them to step up and take responsibility for their actions.

  122. I rather think you have corroborated the ‘lynch-mob’ analogy.

    I just wish you wouldn’t keep using that term, esp. when it comes me. It makes me sound vindictive and hysterical. And I’m very disappointed by your other put-down comments, because I’ve enjoyed your writings, on and off this blog etc.

  123. Brian, I think it is a fair and well made effort on your part to highlight the responsibility of the media to get things right. Your use of the Hotchin’s situation is a useful vehicle to do this with because of the heightened level of interest in the story. The difficulty though is where the comment on the media enters that gray realm of potentially commenting on the substance. In order to stay on point regarding journalistic responsibility some comments about Mrs Hotchin’s possible complicity in Hanover have been dismissed due to a supposed lack of evidence. One cannot fault you for doing this because I suspect factually you do not have and have not seen such evidence. What is potentially more deserving of our dismay at NZ joiurnalism though is that no one has bothered to actually research Mrs Hotchin’s role in this Hanover show. If, for example, she had actively used her new found wealth to build relationships for the benefit of the business then is she not complicit? I suspect the guest lists at their various extravagant functions in the years leading up to the collapse made for some interesting reading.
    Mr Hotchin is not the most attractive man. She however is undeniably attractive. They were married well after Mark Hotchin had established Hanover and well after numerous reports had started to surface regarding related party transactions etc. Who knows what any of these things mean if anything – but it makes me curious. I acknowledge that I do not have all the facts. I acknowledge the possibility Mrs Hotchin was mis-reported by J Marshall. But in this case I think the real complaint should be about the lack of in depth investigative journalism. And my strong suspicion is that just a little bit of research will turn up facts that make the Hotchins look far worse, not better, than the media has portrayed them to date.

  124. OK, Merv.

    There seems little more of value to add, and any more from me would probably be (to paraphrase Amanda Hotchin’s valid point) a form of gaining “from everyone else’s misery”.

  125. “I rather think you have corroborated the ‘lynch-mob’ analogy.”

    “I woulda thought business-minded with your take. If true justice were to prevail, someone should be sounding the clarion call for the knitters and rummaging around for a wicker basket.”

    What was that Merv? Of course you come across sometimes as hysterical and vindictive. What about your suggestions for dealing with the school girl who modified her uniform to show a bit of leg?

  126. Apart from the 17000 people directly affected ,their families and friends will also be affected . People working in similar situations will become distrusted by the public(possibly not a bad thing).I dont think people actually hate Amanda but the actions of Mark and by default Amanda are hated.

  127. ‘ “I trust you will have the chance to revise your opinion of me once the full story of what happened to Hanover is revealed in the coming months”. ‘…..

    …I take this as evidence that Amanda is fully au fait with the financial machinations of Hanover finance.The investors’ in Hanover were duped by slick marketing and in the end driven to accept the DRP and the ALF deal by fear of losing their capital imo.Despite the assurances of those on the Hanover payroll,that is indeed what is happening.When Sam Stubbs left Hanover alarm bells were ringing loudly.This freezing of Hotchins asset may be just to appease the shareholders.I hope this is not the case and all the transactions leading up to the DRP,are subject to forensic scrutiny.The roles of the directors,auditors,and trustees in this farce need to be thoroughly investigated.

  128. Edward: “How blessed we are to have such media peronalities such as Paul Holmes.’

    You are veering straight into the Gully of Facetiousness, with that remark. Paul is, still, reeling from the shock of having ALL 80-plus Herald posters come out and kick him in the guts, after that article he penned on Julian Assange.

    Edited – defamatory comment

  129. “I trust you will have the chance to revise your opinion of me once the full story of what happened to Hanover is revealed in the coming months”. ‘…..

    What else do you expect Hubby Mark have been saying to poor Amanda as the saga unfolded?

    Boil it all down and it’s Amanda finally waking up to reality when their assets were frozen and the high life is potentially now dissipating and jail time could also potentially be on the offing for hubby Mark?

  130. Well said Lady Antebellum,well said indeed!

  131. Edward, Merv: Good Ol’ Paul had it coming. Especially with his other article where he had nocturnal emissions for Caribou Barbie.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=10685903

    And if Mark Hotchin is the Ace of Clubs, then Fay & Richwhite would be the Ace of Spades.

  132. Yes, DeepRed, another article that would make you wonder about anybody who claims to have admiration for his so called media skills. An embarrassment really.

  133. How can Paul Holmes write such an encomium on Sarah Palin?

  134. “How can Paul Holmes write such an encomium on Sarah Palin?”

    In all fairness to Paul: anyone, who can see Russia from her back porch, and thinks of Africa as being a single country, is deserving of special admiration.

    [Goodness gracious! For the life of me, I can’t see what was defamatory; it was nothing more than what he would expect in a — gentle — roasting, at his honouring-dinner. And, being the jolly raconteur which he is renowned for, he would’ve giggled. Where’s everyone’s sense of joie de vivre, these days?]

  135. The best part of this whole business is that Amanda and Mark are in Australia.

    The less they have to do with New Zealand (other than paying back the money they have fleeced) the better.

  136. Naughty Merv! You’ve offended some mutual admiration society. They are a prickly, fragile egoed lot these media celebrities. As if you didn’t know.

    • This non-celebrity edited the comment. There’s a great deal of difference between a roast, where there is willing participation, and a publication. You may relish being sued – I do not.

  137. I am currently employed as an Investment Adviser and was actively involved in selling debenture investments to depositors until 2007. This included all the major companies including Hanover, and other well-known ones too. There were some (particularly smaller ones) however that we declined to sell and I guess I don’t need to name them. The demand for these investments was always very strong, notwithstanding other investments such as corporate bonds were and still are in strong demand (and for the most part are good fixed interest investments).

    I want to make the point that I did not foresee the demise of the finance company sector until it was too late. Even after the first one or two finance companies failed, that did not signal the rout of the whole sector. And I don’t think
    I am alone there. Depositors didn’t see it, advisers didn’t see it, and even finance company execs probably didn’t see the bursting of the property asset bubble until it was too late. Subsequent events have revealed some appalling practices within the finance companies, for example the capitalisation of interest on overdue loans, and I believe their auditors have a lot to answer for in this regard. Hanover were not alone in paying dividends from unearned income.

    So to all you clever clogs out there, don’t blame the depositors, or the advisers, or dare I suggest not even the finance company execs in some cases. The property bubble was on an ever-increasing upwards spiral heading to the sky like Jack’s beanstalk. It is extremely sad that so many depositors’ nest eggs have since been decimated, but it wasn’t predictable. Debenture investors are not the only ones to have lost capital as a result of the global financial crisis, and we are not through this crsis yet. It is casting a long shadow.

  138. Question of the day: when people whose sole joy appears to be the making/juggling of money AS A VOCATION (as opposed to making it as the benefit of another activity), why do they then invariably expose the lousiest plebeian senses of taste in their other pursuits (behemoth yachts, Bokassa-style mansions etc etc).
    If I made millions, whether in the pursuit of money per se, or as a benefit from another activity (a hit record, or a successful electronic product, for example), the last thing I’d want would be a bloody yacht and/or a mega-mortgaged mansion. Who needs the hassle?
    —————-
    Amanda, I repeat: It’s over. Head down, bum up, sell the house, get off the bridge of the yacht, get a job.

  139. “I did not foresee the demise of the finance company sector until it was too late…….. And I don’t think I am alone there. Depositors didn’t see it, advisers didn’t see it, and even finance company execs probably didn’t see the bursting of the property asset bubble until it was too late.”

    That’s fair enough. Because, neither did the Freddie Macs The Fannie Maes, the AIGs the Bears Stearns and the Lehman Brothers of this world — see it coming, either. As with most of the suits on Wall St.

    “Hanover were not alone in paying dividends from unearned income.”

    Again, true. But you must have guessed that: the investors money was used as top-ups behind the first-ranked securities (and in some case behind the second mortgages) that, often, money was lent to fund the actual cost of the proposed development over-and-above the cost of the land; that the agreed purchase price between the vendor and purchaser was hydrauliced-up to maximise the gearing on the first mortgage, because of the lower interest rate, deceiving not only the banks but also the poor sods who invested their money; that, should the real estate market recede, the value of the security would be less than what was owed on the first mortgage, such was the level of gearing.

    Did you forewarn your clients that Bridgecorp’s Rod Petricevic was behind one of the largest property commercial failures of the mid-1980s, when he headed Euro-National Corporation, and that Bridgecorp’s TV advertising “Minimise the Risk” caption came across as cloying, especially, when you saw those B&W sepia-toned ads parodying Albert Steptoe and William Tell; or that, Eric Watson, had been in the gun with the NZX over his less-than-transparent dealing of the Noel Leemings share price, when he owned the company, and that he was going to be sued by Josephine Grierson, after she had scouted out Bendon, for him to buy, and was gypped; that Elders Finance had been rebranded as Hanover, to cash in on the name of that venerable German House of Royalty; or that Kevin Podmore’s print ads for soliciting funds, just before St Laurence Holdings floundered, was more of a family-man’s self-portrait, rather than explaining how the money was to be used, (by then, Poddy’s Ship of Endeavour wasn’t so much heading for the rocks as, already, breaking up on them, but it revealed a kind of desperate urgency for more money); that Nathan’s Finance constant and very aggressive mailouts resembled discount-buy pamphlets from the likes of Super Cheap Auto. None of these things were considered red flags, worth mentioning to your clients? I could go and on, but you get my drift.

    “So to all you clever clogs out there, don’t blame the depositors, or the advisers, or dare I suggest not even the finance company execs in some cases. The property bubble was on an ever-increasing upwards spiral heading to the sky like Jack’s beanstalk”.

    Yeah, just go ahead and blame the property bubble. Because it burst. No one’s to blame.

  140. While it is unfortunate that many people lost their life savings with the collapse of Hanover, it seems as though everybody has forgotten that investing comes with risk. It is certainly upsetting that thousands of people have been left out of pocket, but the only guaranteed return is to bank money (and even that is only a guarantee while banks are regulated).

    Investing is essentially a gamble, there are always winners and losers.

  141. Prior to these events the accountant I use advised me that the return on investment from some companies looked too good to be true.He suggested anything over 10% needed close scrutiny. This quote from a 2004 article questions Hanovers practice.
    “NBR has drawn attention to this in the past (NBR, Feb 1, 2002), when Hanover defended its level of related party lending, but since then the amount going to related parties has ramped up significantly.”

    “New Zealand Financial Planning, said it “looked for quality products” and would not invest in anything that was not investment grade with a Standard & Poor’s rating of BBB and above”

    “Geoff Matthews of Spicers said Hanover did not meet his firm’s criteria from a security or a credit rating viewpoint”.

    Another financial adviser, who asked not to be named, said he was courted by Hanover but as soon as he asked hard questions “they disappeared.”

    Perhaps if the property bubble hadnt burst they might have carried on,but for how long?

  142. PJR – couldn’t agree more. The warning bells were being sounded at least 5 years before the collapse of Hanover. Just google even some of the stuff written by Debra Hill-Cone and you’d wonder why anyone went near these ‘wide boyz’.

    It was an out and out ponzi scheme run for the benefit of a select few. And you can’t blame the poor old investors who let themselves get sucked in by all the fancy advertising, seemingly attractive interest rates, high profile board appointments and shifty financial advisers on the take.

    The idiots out there today that want to call the unfortunate investors who lost their money ‘greedy’, wouldn’t have a clue.

    You could be pretty confident that those doing the name calling would never have a buck to invest themselves, other than maybe what remains in their Kashin account with ASB.

    As my dear ol’ grandma used to say “You can bet people like that wouldn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of”.

  143. Hey, Heathcliffe — I forgot to ask: what’s the name of the firm, you’re acting as an “investment advisor”, for? Give it up, ‘bro!

  144. “Depositors didn’t see it, advisers didn’t see it, and even finance company execs probably didn’t see the bursting of the property asset bubble until it was too late.”

    Can’t disagree more (I don’t work in finance but understand enough)… Of course it was predictable… All bubbles birst, economy history is full of it (the 1st known one was the “Tulip Mania” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania – then the dotcom bubble, etc etc)!

    As an aside, I recommend you all to find and watch a BBC TV series called “the Ascent of Money”… And you’ll understand what I mean by “yes it was predictable”…

  145. A Twice Shy: “You could be pretty confident that those doing the name calling would never have a buck to invest themselves, other than maybe what remains in their Kashin account with ASB.”

    Hilairious! (And they’re just low-denominational coins in a plastic elephant money box).

  146. ‘Cognitive dissonance city’

    I take it that means “doesn’t ring true”. You might care to elaborate.

    Cognitive dissonance is what happens when you try and hold two conflicting ideas at the same time. Amanda Hotchin, like most people, likes to think of herself as a good person. But if her husband had really made himself rich by destroying the lives of tens of thousands of people, and she stayed with him and enjoyed all that money then that would make her a bad person.

    Well she knows that she isn’t a bad person. And because she doesn’t want to leave her husband (and all that money) she reaches the conclusion that he’s been misrepresented, that it’s all a fraud, a media hoax etc. So she can stay with him, enjoy the money and not have to break up the family or upset her very comfortable life and still think of herself as a good person. She’s Carmela Soprano writ small.

  147. I love Amanda’s yellow frock, it does suit her.

  148. I’ve just read 180 comments, and I’m really tired, my head hurts. Keeping the thread of all the points-of-view is too much for even my huge brain. I’m an instant fan of Lady Antebellum, and I have some sympathy for the financial adviser guy involved at the time, but can’t remember his name. Brian – is there a ‘like the comment’ feature you could turn on similar to facebook’s? I have to say, that participating in your blog, Brian, is the hands down most satisfying experience of any interactive NZ internet discussion I have so far been involved in. Having only the odd fuckwit commenting, with the majority rest having a brain and a point-of-view, is just so refreshing. Still I find it hard to participate sensibly once it goes multiperson. My response to John is… Fred is… Mary is…. is hardly a flowing conversation. Got any suggestions as to how to ‘flow’ this Brian? Back to the narrow parameters of your original article, Brian, let’s accept Amanda has ‘rebutted’ whatever she did or didn’t say in that SST article. Perhaps we can now concentrate on what she did say (incontrovertibly) in her email to you (which I think was a major mistake on her part). I’ve just re-read her email, again, and … actually she didn’t really say anything of consequence at all. The SST misquoted (or lied about her) – she does care what people think (well, duh, I accept that). She has “four sworn affidavits” proving the lie [funnily enough I don’t have any affidavits myself, and the irony of “four sworn affidavits” and the meaning of the similarly pronounced “forsworn” is obviously lost on Amanda). She does do a ‘poor me’ in relation to her family’s suffering and says “I trust you will have the chance to revise your opinion of me once the full story of what happened to Hanover is revealed in the coming months.” This implies either a touching, perhaps naive, faith in her husband, or a claim by her to be very fully informed about her husband’s activities. I’ve lost track of the number of people, in the last 3 years, who have made some variation of the statement “I will defend these outrageous false charges to the death”, only to roll over on court day and plead guilty. Hotchin may not do that of course, and I do have a sneaky suspicion that eric may have dumped mark in it, but nevertheless do we actually have to pretend to give everyone the benefit of the doubt?

  149. Boy, what a thread! Through all this, with all the completely deserved dislike of the Hotchins (my parents are among those who have lost a significant proportion of their retirement money in Hanover)one thing remains that explains Brian’s original post and my original comment.

    It is entirely possible that Amanda Hotchin has been misrepresented, that words have been attributed to her that she never said. Those words were used to paint her as a modern-day Marie Antoinette, uncaring, evil in her disdain.

    Whatever else she may, or may not, have done, if that reporting was false, if she did not say that, if, in this instance, she has been misreported, then all those who felt utter disgust for her because of those words, needs to reconsider.

    On reconsidering, they may still feel dislike, they may still find culpability. Which would be fair enough – as long as it is based on fact and not misrepresentation.

  150. SST Page 2: “We stand behind the story. Amanda Hotchin indicated diffamation proceedings would be launched. None have been. Should they be, they will be defended”

    … Better than a poker game……….

  151. Yo! Gary, re your “I have some sympathy for the financial adviser guy involved at the time, but can’t remember his name…”

    The boy’s name is “Heathcliff”. But this wunderkind doesn’t cut a figure of Emily Brontë’s passionate and romantic hero with a bitter, tortured soul. Though, he does share some recognisable traits — neglectful and scornful.

  152. Nobody saw the finance companies demise coming?

    Heathcliff – you obviously should not be an investment adviser.

    Fact – there is an adviser in New Plymouth who went around in 2006/07 telling investors to get out of finance companies at investment seminars, clients’ meetings etc. For his troubles, he was harassed by other advisers (especially the ones from Vestar) and executives of the finance companies.

    He is still in the industry but is avoided by the many lawyers and accountants who recommended clients to the advisers who put most of the money into finance companies.

  153. Surely the Hotchins would have served notice of pending legal action?

    Or written to the SST to seek a retraction?

    Isn’t it strange that there is no written or verbal communication between Amanda and SST?

    Now that SST has responded, the ball is in her court.

  154. The SST has responded to a Amanda Hotchins denial of the Hawaii statement and threatened legal action with a resounding, BRING IT ON BABY!I await further developments with interest,although I am not holding my breath.

  155. I dont think Ive ever read the SST before in my life! but following this thread I have been awaiting in anticipation for their response, grin.

    They are not backing down.

    Interesting!

  156. I feel terrible for all the investors who have lost no doubt hard-earned savings in Hanover. Just as I do for all those investors who have similarly lost out severely with the other finance companies that have crashed and not been bailed out by the NZ govt. Actually, the heartache and financial hardships that come to those who lose their savings by any manner (shares/investments/guarantees etc etc) I find truly upsetting. However, knowing Amanda as I do, I have felt sick for her and the campaign that has been waged against her personally, as it is as if she is being roasted on the spit to make the crowds feel happy, yet I question whether this is really an appropriate outlet. I knew Amanda when she was in NZ and vouch that she is truly a very nice person. (Yes yes, I know some of you will want to use that as a slag on the company I keep, but that’s predictable so there you go, I have saved you the trouble). The comments reported by Mr Marshall are so entirely out of keeping with the person I knew that I never did believe them when SST ran the story. She is quiet, unassuming and nice. And despite the photo continually run by the NZ Herald of her in a yellow ballgown, (to keep up the perception that she is used to the high-life etc etc) she was a real jeans and tshirt girl in the 4 years I knew her up until they left the country – and that reflects the Amanda I knew far more than anything I have seen or read about her since.

  157. 157

    “a real jeans and tshirt girl” you say – yea, but I bet they weren’t from postie plus!

    God spare me…..

  158. 158

    “She is quiet, unassuming and nice.”

    Amanda: Hun, you think it’s appropriate that we should be partying up large on Vomo Island for your 50th, when you know it’ll be reported on?

    Mark: Sure, why not? Besides, it’s not costing me a brass razoo; it’s been prepaid for by our loyal investors. And I’ll be damned if I let Eric outdo me, when I know he’s going to set Istanbul alight on his 50th birthday bash.

    Amanda: I was just teasing, Silly. I’ve already packed my 10 chiffon Gucci dresses and 3 LV handbags already.

  159. True comments ‘Crusty’! That yellow dress photo has been circulating for years.Amanda has class, that has nothing to do with money. And yes, she’d look fabulous in the sack cloth and ashes people would like her to wear………

  160. Jan: “Amanda has class, that has nothing to do with money”.

    To claim “class”, requires some degree of self-awareness as to how you’re perceived — and received — by the public; determined by exemplary behaviour in that domain. In short, being attuned to other people’s sensitivities. Splurging the ruined investors’ money on your husband’s 50th birthday bash on an exclusive South Pacific Island resort, continuing to pour money into building your personal Versailles Palace — falls somewhat short in meeting the threshold: “class”.

  161. Merv, everyone should have self awareness, we are all judged by perception.Class,is education, good manners, understatement, unassumingly working for charities etc. Events beyond her control and the resulting debacle are not her fault. No mention from forner Hanover employees about Amanda having a role to play in the company. Note there is never a mention of family and friends losing money or their life savings, or is that non consequential?
    Proof Amanda splashed out personally for Vomo island please, are you privvy to the accounts?????? Invited guests more likely paid for themselves. As for the Versailles Palace, doubt Amanda had too much to say in the matter. Oh dear, when my husband said we could move to a bigger house I should have declined….

  162. Amanda has gone all quiet after the SST rebuttal.

    What a golden opportunity for her to come out swinging via BE or another paper.

    Instead, deafening silence.

    Looks like she only managed to get the likes of Jan to come to her cause?