PM, please don’t cut Rees ribbon


Key warned off grand opening by angry creditor.

An unhappy creditor on Queens­town development The Rees is trying to drag the Prime Minister into his dispute.

Queenstown Roofing manager Bill Giller – who says Rees developer SMG owes his company $38,000 on the Frankton Road apartment hotel – this week emailed PM John Key, who opens The Rees next Friday.

“As one of several creditors collectively owed in excess of $1.4m, I find it extremely upsetting that you are seen to be supporting [a] developer who is refusing to pay for work that was legitimately carried out on the development,” Giller tells Key.

“We have all been waiting several months for payment which is promised but never arrives.

“It is very difficult to survive in the current business climate without having to wait to be paid.

“I trust you will reconsider your decision [to open The Rees]…”

Giller has no idea whether his plea will be heeded but says it’s been acknowledged by the PM’s office.

SMG project manager Vaughan Wharton last week denied $1.4m was outstanding but accepted about half that amount could be tied up in workmanship and charging disputes.

Giller concedes about $8000 of Queenstown Roofing’s debt could be in dispute due to workmanship.

“But why don’t they pay us the balance and pay [$8000] to somebody to fix it?”

The money SMG owes “is disrupting people’s cashflows, I think it’s bloody unfair”.

SMG co-developer Lindsay Singleton says he and Wharton have told Queenstown Roofing it’s in breach of contract because of workmanship issues across the site and therefore won’t be paid any longer.

“There is no debt issue here.

“This is a dispute, and for [Giller] to go public can only have been designed to get at us when he knew the full facts and the full basis for the dispute.”

Singleton won’t comment on Giller trying to involve the PM but stresses the dispute’s between Queenstown Roofing and SMG, not The Rees management company.

Meanwhile, as work continues on Queenstown’s huge Kawarau Falls Station hotel/resort project three weeks after it went into receivership, “no news is good news”, according to Rilean Construction’s Steve McLean.

Receivers last week failed to meet their two-week deadline to announce whether stage one would be completed but said the “evaluation process” was continuing.

McLean: “For every week, for every month this [receivership] goes and everybody gets paid, they’re either a step beyond or one step closer to a point of no return from the funder.”

Travel industry newsletter e-Travel Blackboard last week quoted a manager from Quadrant Hotel Group, which is due to open the first hotel at Kawarau Falls next January, suggesting the project wouldn’t be cancelled but at most “may be delayed”.