With Christchurch mayor Sideshow Bob and his merry band of council supporters considering helping out failed property developer Dave Henderson (see previous post), a regular reader of this blog, 'nefarious 2000', has pointed out the parallels with a Henderson property development from some six years ago.

Back then the Christchurch City Council were considering taking a role in the redevelopment of the old Turners and Growers site in Tuam Street. There was a proposal to build residential housing on the site. In particular, there was a proposal being considered to build student accommodation.

Enter into the equation Mr Dave Henderson. He too was looking at building residential housing in the same area of the city.

Henderson certainly didn't want the Christchurch City Council developing a competing inner city residential housing site.

So what did Henderson do?

Well, he had just bought the Sargood's building in Lichfield Street, which was part of a 'character group of buildings'.

Displaying the kind of bullying behaviour that he is known for, Henderson applied for a demolition permit for the Sargoods Building, unless the Christchurch City Council promised him that they would not become involved with the Turners and Growers site.

Of course Henderson is the same man who espouses the virtues of free and unfettered competition - although, apparently, not when it involves his interests.

In the end, 'Hendo' decided not to demolish the building and redeveloped it instead. And, no prizes for guessing, the Christchurch City Council did not pursue its interest in the Turners and Growers site.

That site remains empty to this day.

To add insult to injury though, the Christchurch City Council's own call centre moved in to the first floor of the redeveloped Sargoods building - paying the kind of high rentals that Henderson is also known to demand.

The mayor at that time, Garry Moore, - like Sideshow Bob - was also a big fan of 'Hendo'.

And 'Hendo' was a fan of Moore:

'Developer and libertarian Dave Henderson counts Moore a friend, despite early run-ins over various projects and their divergent political leanings. "What we have in common is that we both abhor rules and regulations," says Henderson. The developer believes that Moore is constantly frustrated by the limits of what can be achieved in public life, in stark contrast to the enjoyment he gets from his private roles on various trusts and as a director of Whalewatch. "He's passionate about making a difference. But he also has this burning desire to be inclusive, to involve everyone, and that is a one-way road to frustration and misery." (The Press,Dec 2, 2005)

Gary Moore's son, Johnny Moore, went to work for Henderson's Property Ventures - until he got laid off recently.

Johnny Moore is also a Henderson tenant, as part-owner of the South of Lichfield bar, Cartel.

Nefarious 2000 points out that the Sargoods building is also up for sale, but without the blaze of publicity that has surrounded the attempts by Hendo' to sell some of his other properties. Says Nefarious: 'I guess he doesn't want to be seen publicly to be selling a building which forms a part of "SOL Square", because that really would be the ultimate blow to the man's ego.'

Nefarious 2000 asks 'Isn't it about time the activities of Christchurch's mayors, both present and immediate past, were subjected to an inquiry?'

A fair question indeed.


  1. The territorial authority, unlike our other cities, offers no protection for buildings of historical significance.

    It allowed Ngai Tahu Property Ltd to demolish the 1880 Sunnyside Hospital and the 1905 King Edward Barracks.

    A property Project Manager formerly in the employ of what is probably Christchurch's most enduring political dynasty is now Development Manager of Ngai Tahu Property Limited.

    The Chairman of a major City Council subsidiary company is also Chairman of the aforementioned political dynasty's property holding company and also Kaupapa Taiao Manager for Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu.

    The Christchurch branch of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust attempted to censor the Canterbury Heritage web site for publishing statistics pertaining to the demolition of heritage buildings.

    A somewhat broader inquiry is well overdue.

  2. This is a response to the original Cowan blog. I have some sympathy with Henderson who is a private businessman. You criticise Daves hypocricy. However, one believes Mr G's stance in this matter can be justified using libertarian logic. (1) libertarians believe competition is good but (2) they also dont like government which they believe to be all powerful and monopolistic. One believes using this logic Dave was correct in that he believes, rightly or wrongly, that it is not a level playing field as the council has unlimited funds and for them, as you point out, they are not responsible when they make bad business decisions. The bus depot and tiles in the square are two examples. Dave is responsible as recent events have shown. Had Henderson been criticising a private company competing against him i would have more sympathy for your point of view. To conclude i dont think their is a disconnect between Daves beliefs in this instance and his actions and i am no fan of Henderson but can understand his frustration at having to compete against the all powerful council. Ok Henderson counts Moore as a friend big deal. It would be more controversial if Moore had said he considered henderson a friend. Henderson can say what he wants and its totally meaningless. Moores son worked for Henderson. Well big deal that doesnt prove anything and he may have had skills Henderson required. You fall into the same trap as those of Hendersons ilk by creating cospiracies without providing a link between your webs to prove the conspiracy. This sound familiar and perhaps you should phone Dave as he might still have a copy of "NONE DARE CALL IT CONSPIRACY".


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