There has been much self-congratulatory publicity about the huge success of the Film Studios for Waitakere City, so just how do the figures stack up? Ask the present Councillors and most will agree with Bob Harvey’s views.
In 2002 ACC, WCC and Waitakere Enterprise became key partners in Film Auckland.
Later that year WCC bought the ENZA Cool Stores for $3.85m with the idea of turning them into a Film Studio managed by Waitakere Properties Ltd. In 2003 $880,000 was spent soundproofing Henderson Valley Studios.
On 20/1/05 two companies were incorporated: Prime West Ltd and Prime West Management Ltd. Both had sole director and shareholder Andrew Maher. Two and a half months later the FOP (Finance and Operational Performance) Committee for Waitakere City Council discussed a proposal by Waitakere Properties Ltd for the future of Henderson Valley Studios. The following month Mike Williams became a director of Prime West Ltd. Then on 25/5/05 the public were excluded from discussion at a Council meeting where WCC agreed to sell all land and complex at 40 Henderson Valley Rd for $6m (at valuation) to Prime West Ltd in exchange for a 40% share in Prime West Ltd. There was also to be an input of $9m from a private investor and receipt of $1m as an MRI (Major Regional Initiative) grant from the Government,
Making a total input of $16m. There was also provision for “Creation of joint-venture management company between Council or its nominee and B&A Management, with Council or its nominee having a 40% shareholding.” A Companies Office search reveals B& A Management was incorporated some 9 years earlier on 14/6/96, with sole directors and shareholders Andrew Coldicutt and Andrew Maher.
On 21/7/05 another new company was incorporated — Tony Tay Trust Ltd, with directors and shareholders Tony and Selina Tay.
Another year elapsed and at a Council meeting on 28/6/06 (excluding the public) Council resolved “to accept the investor Tony Tay Group and his associated entities as shareholders in Prime West Ltd and Prime West Management Ltd.” The private investment was significantly reduced and on 21/7/06 Waitakere Properties Ltd became the owner of 60,000 $10 shares in Prime West Ltd and Tony Tay Trust Ltd held 75,000 shares.
On 24/8/07 the following article announced a $7.2m Film Studio.
In November 2007 a new company was incorporated — Tony Tay Film Ltd.
In December 2007 Tony Tay Trust Ltd shares in Prime West Ltd were transferred to Tony Tay Film Ltd.
The total dividends paid by Prime West Ltd were $2.50/share in 2008 and $3/share in 2009. On 29/7/09 Prime West Ltd changed its name to Auckland Film Studios Ltd.
One has good cause to ask here. Wouldn’t ratepayers have been better off reducing debt than tying up so much capital in a Film Studio?
Numerous Tony Tay companies have gone into liquidation in recent times.