Veronica Harrod reports that last month Horowhenua deputy mayor Wayne Bishop’s development company was sold 2.7 hectares next to land earmarked for sale to the Horowhenua NZ Trust.
On 2 November Wayne Bishop Investment Ltd bought half a hectare of a former industrial site at 56-62 Cambridge Street South for $480,000 and 2.7 hectares of land behind it for $360,000. It is the first time the 2.7 hectare block has been sold.
Details of the land deal
The 2.7 hectare of land now owned by Cr Bishop’s company is directly beside 7.6 hectares of public land owned by Horowhenua District Council at 72 Cambridge Street South earmarked for sale in Council’s November 2015 Property Strategy.
Last year Council voted to establish what it referred to as an “economic development trust” called the Horowhenua New Zealand Trust (HNZT) and transfer up to 40 percent of public assets to the trust as “seed capital” which includes the 72 Cambridge Street South site.
Other land purchases
The Cambridge Street acquisitions are near three other land purchases by Cr Bishop’s land and property development company in Hinemoa and Liverpool Street totalling almost 12 hectares of prime real estate.
Almost one hectare in Hinemoa Street has a rateable value of just $165,000 but a Capital Value of $1.2 million.
Ex Kimberley site soars in value
The valuation of Cr Bishop’s Speldhurst development, being built in stages on the 48 hectare former Kimberley Hospital site, increased by 430 percent in 2016 from $3.8 million to $20.3 million.
Cr Bishop was deputy chair of the Economic Development Board (EDB) and six former board members are now all trustees of the HNZT.
Since six members of the EDB were named as trustees Council has removed all references to the EDB on its website although there has been no formal announcement the board has been dis-established.
The ‘Horowhenua Company’
On 18 October 2018, five months after HNZT was registered, a financial services company called The Horowhenua Company was established naming all but one trustee of HNZT as shareholders.
Former EDB chair and trustee of HNZT Cameron Lewis is a director and a shareholder of The Horowhenua Company.
The other shareholders include former EDB members and trustees of HNZT Antony Young, Evan Kroll, Larry Ellison and Ron Turk.
The majority of councillors voted in support of Council’s chief executive officer David Clapperton assisting the trust but voted against Mayor Michael Feyen being involved.
NOTE: KIN has asked Deputy Mayor Wayne Bishop for his comments, but has not received a reply as yet.