Topshop operator generated $4.1m of losses

Top Retail, which operated the New Zealand Topshop and Topman stores, was in negative equity after generating $4.1 million of losses in its three-year life in New Zealand.

The first receivers' report by McGrathNichol's Conor McElhinney and Kare Johnstone show the retailer in negative equity of $2.9 million as at September 7, the date of receivership, after accumulated losses since its launch in 2014 outstripped the $1.3m of shareholder funds.

The shareholders of the retailer included interests associated with Kiwi clothing firm Barkers, Christchurch property investor Philip Carter and fashion designer Karen Walker and also extended loans totalling $6.1m to Top Retail.

The company's stores on the high streets of Auckland and Wellington were closed in September after the receivers failed to find a buyer, leaving net debt owed to the appointing lender of $2m, the shareholder loans and some $1.8m to trade creditors.

The receivership was the latest in a line of retailers struggling to make a traditional bricks-and-mortar model work when online rivals avoid the overhead of a high street site and are accused of skirting customs duties that traditional vendors face.

Top Retail's assets were valued at $8.1m, of which $5.9m was in furniture and fittings. The company had inventories totalling $787,000 at the time of receivership, and managed to sell all stock before the stores were closed, the receivers said.

Staff were owed $95,000 of unpaid wages and holiday pay when the receivers were appointed, and Inland Revenue Department was owed $55,000 of outstanding income tax and a further $1400 in GST.

But its Auckland and Wellington stores will stay open until a call has been made on their future.
Source: 1 NEWS

Hamilton high school's students planning protest in response to principal's 'rape victim' speech

Students at Hamilton’s Fraser High School are planning a protest in response to a speech by principal Virginia Crawford where she said being a truant made it highly likely you would become a rape victim, in prison or illiterate.

A student at the school confirmed to 1 NEWS that there was a plan to stage a ‘wagging protest’ outside the front of the school at 10am this morning.

1 NEWS also obtained a poster for the planned protest.

Last week, a recording of a speech by Ms Crawford at a school assembly was posted on YouTube.

READ MORE: Hamilton principal slammed for speech saying truants were highly likely to become rape victims

A flyer for the planned protest.

"Every student who walks out of the gate to truant is already a statistic of the worst kind - highly likely to go to prison, either commit domestic violence or be a victim of domestic violence, be illiterate, be a rape victim, be a suicide victim,” she was heard saying.

In response, the Ministry of Education encouraged parents to complain to the school, if they were concerned about the speech. 

The school has defended the speech. 


'They've got pretty empty lives' - leading criminologist's harsh words for NZ strawberry needle copycats

As a plague of needles being placed in Australian strawberries appears to have crossed the Tasman, with an Auckland supermarket the latest to discover compromised produce, a Kiwi criminologist says that it was inevitable that copycats would eventually show themselves.

With last night's news that a needle was found in a punnet of strawberries was purchased from an Auckland Countdown supermarket, the Choice brand has been removed from shelves.

Appearing on TVNZ 1's Breakfast this morning, criminologist Greg Newbold compared the work of the apparent copycats to that of deviant pyromaniacs.

The Choice brand strawberries came from Australia, and have since been pulled from shelves. Source: Breakfast

"I think it's people who are fundamentally bored, and haven't got much important in their lives," he said.

"It makes them feel important, that they've created a national scandal, a national panic.

"They'll get some enjoyment out of that, they've got pretty empty lives themselves."

ONN 1 News at 6 promo image
For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Newbold also detailed ways to combat alleged copycats, saying is was important not to give them any credence whatsoever.

Countdown says the strawberries came from Western Australia. Source: 1 NEWS

"If it was me, I'd play it down."

"I wouldn't withdraw those strawberries from the shelves at all, I'd just put a sign up saying 'be careful when you bite these strawberries, there's a one in a million chance there could be a needle in it.

"If you beat it up, you're just throwing petrol on the fire."

Countdown last week announced it had halted imports of Australian strawberries to NZ for the season, while competitor Foodstuffs also ceased shipping them to its stores.

Greg Newbold told Breakfast that copycat cases were inevitable. Source: Breakfast



Simon Bridges against compensation for tenants proven to have smoked or cooked meth in Housing NZ home

National leader Simon Bridges is adamant that those Housing NZ tenants found to have used or produced methamphetamine in their homes should not be compensated, saying “what sort of message does that send?”

As many as 800 current and former state house tenants will be eligible for some form of assistance, following a report released by the agency yesterday acknowledging it was wrong to evict them on the basis of P contamination.

That could range from an apology from Housing New Zealand, to cancellation of meth-related debt and repayment, to a grant for household items and moving costs.

Mr Bridges said he had no issue with re-housing or showing compassion on a case-by-case basis.

In cases where it could be proven that tenants had caused the harm to the Housing NZ property by using or producing meth however, he could not go along with compensation.

“I just think where it’s been established that there is illegality, where there is a breaking of the tenancy agreement, re-housing one thing, compensation is a step too far,” he told TVNZ1’s Breakfast.

“I’m sorry, it is not right to compensate those people for what is illegal, what is against their tenancy agreement, what sort of message does that send?”

Asked if the majority of the 800 cases were not people who had used or supplied meth, Mr Bridges said you couldn’t downplay the numbers.

“Ultimately methamphetamine is a scourge on our society, you’re talking about small amounts, I wouldn’t downplay that, the truth is we’re talking about smoking meth, about cooking meth, we don’t want to send messages about those things.”

“I’m not here arguing, saying we shouldn’t re-house, we shouldn’t have compassion on those things, but to write off debts where houses, in some cases, have been wrecked and ruined, and then to compensate for those things, I cannot go along with that.”

Mr Bridges said there was nothing wrong with the test for meth residue that the previous government had used, but it was a matter of standard having been set too low.

“The actual test to establish whether there was methamphetamine there in the house in a level they could pick up, no one is disputing that, not even (Housing Minister) Phil Twyford, he used to try to, he doesn’t now,” he said.

The National leader says it sends a poor message that those found to have cooked or used meth in Housing NZ homes get compensation. Source: Breakfast

'Eradication, not just a cull' - fierce resistance meets proposed Tahr cull

A proposed cull of South Island tahr is being met with fierce resistance by hunters, with a spokesperson labelling the move nothing short of eradication.

As numbers of tahr continue to swell, the Department of Conservation are taking the steps in order to preserve wildlife and landscapes, although the reason isn't sitting well with hunters, who are now ready to head to the High Court to seek action.

Appearing on TVNZ 1's Breakfast this morning, NZ Tahr Foundation spokesperson Willie Duley came out swinging about the proposed 'Tahrmageddon'.

"What DOC has proposed, what the minister has proposed is eradication, not just a cull," he said.

"The real issue this is highlighted, is that there is no science, they have no science to prove that there is too many tahr.

"What we want to stress, is that there's no need for a knee-jerk reaction such as this."

Instead, Mr Duley proposed a different solution, seeing both groups come together for the good of the region.

"We need to sit down, get all of the stakeholders, do the proper consultation that wasn't done this time by the minister (Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage).

Officials say tahr numbers have to be limited to protect the landscape. Source: 1 NEWS

"She needs to listen to the Game Animal Council, which is her legislation, the statutory body that advises her on game animal issues, and then we'd all be on the same page.

"There is win-win for this, we just want to sit down, and we want a chance to put in a sustainable strategy that looks after the environment, but also looks after this hundred million dollar resource.

"We're talking people's livelihoods on the line.

"Each bull tahr is worth $14,000 alone to the economy. In the first cull, they propose to shoot 3000 tahr, if you do the maths, that's $42m worth of bull tahr left to rot on the hillside.

"That's just wrong."

A crowdfunding campaign by the New Zealand Tahr foundation has raised more than $85,000 in just a few days to fight the proposed move.

A NZ Hunter spokesperson Willie Duley told Breakfast about the damage a proposed cull would inflict. Source: Breakfast