Pellett loses $250,000 on Scoop

February 25th, 2015 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

NBR reports:

Ownership changes at news and press release website Scoop mean several shareholders are short of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In December the website’s majority shareholder, Margaret Thompson (mother of Scoop publisher Alastair Thompson), exercised her power of sale under her first-ranked security, effectively wiping out all other shareholders.

Imarda co-founder and chief executive Selwyn Pellett held 20% of the shares in Scoop, with the rest being split between several shareholders including journalists Gordon Campbell, Russell Brown and Pattrick Smellie.

Asked how much he had invested in Scoop, Mr Pellett says, “How much I invested and how much it gobbled up are two different answers.”

“The truthful answer is that I don’t know, but [the total amount lost] would be approaching $200,000 to $250,000.”

He paid $250,000 or so for a 20% share in Scoop?

Scoop has reached 30% of its $30,000 fund raising goal on Pledge Me.

I would be saddened if Scoop fails. Their press release archive alone is incredibly useful. And I often read what Gordon Campbell writes, even if I rarely agree.

142 people have pledged $10,444 which is an average $70 or so. You can pledge here.

However I have doubts that donations is a sustainable model going forward. People may donate once for a good cause, but harder to get them doing it regularly.

Pellett blaming the Chinese

March 20th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Selwyn Pellett tweeted yesterday:


Pellett is a donation to both Labour and David Cunliffe and meant to be involved in their economic policy development. As you can see he has concluded the problem is Chinese expat house owners.

Note his robust source of data – a mate who texted him. And somehow this mate not only went around 25 houses, but went out of his way at every house to ask about the ethnicity of the owner, and whether or not they are expat. His data sounds about as reliable as a typical caller into talkback radio.


Bill Ralston congratulates him on behalf of Winston. Ralston also supplies a fact, as opposed to a text from a mate:


So Pellett asked for some facts, and got them.


But amazingly even after Ralston supplies the source, Pellett seems to suggest that the data may be made up or manufactured. This from the economic genius who cited a text from a mate as his source.


I then helpfully stepped in and provided a media report citing the BNZ data. So we have Pellett arguing 92% of homes sought by his buyer mate were owned by Chinese expats vs the BNZ data from reat estate agent sales that found it was 1.2%. You’d think he’s give up, but no.


Now he is claiming that the Auditor-General or someone has to audit the BNZ data before he will accept it. This would be more hilarious than tragic if it were not for the fact he started the discussion by citing a tweet from a mate claiming that 92% of homes he had looked at were owned by Chinese. He certainly does know shit data when he sees it, but because it allowed him to bash the Chinese, he used it.


Then finally he claims it is not about race, but foreign ownership. However he is the one who tweeted explicitly citing Chinese expat owners. Bit too late at the end to try and say it isn’t about race. The reality is he tried to scaremonger over Chinese buyers based on an anecdotal text from a mate. And then when called out on it, he rubbished any data that contradicted his mate’s text.

And this is who is helping Labour write their economic policy. That’s the really scary thing.

UPDATE: A reader has pointed out to me that Pellett wasn’t so opposed to foreign investment when he got hundreds of thousands of dollars from Jim Anderton in grants for his company, and then sold it off to a foreign buyer. Also it has been suggested that he ask family members how they would feel about his mate racially profiling them on the basis of assumed ethnicity if they were home owners.

Scoop, Newsroom and the Internet Party

January 25th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

As many will have read by now, Alastair Thompson has resigned as interim General Secretary of the Internet Party:

Scoop website co-founder Alastair Thompson has resigned as interim general secretary of the Internet Party.

Mr Thompson is not available for further comment.

This is obviously a bad look for the Internet Party, losing the key administrative officer a week into it.

It also leaves Alastair in a vulnerable position. Can he immediately return to Scoop, despite having affiliated with a political party – even if now departed.

By coincidence also out yesterday was this announcement:

Sublime Group Ltd is increasing its presence in the media business by seeking to acquire NewsRoom from NZX, says Craig Pellett, CEO of Sublime Group ( The NewsRoom acquisition is expected to be formally completed shortly.

“Our acquisition of NewsRoom is designed to support our recent investment in and restructuring plans for Scoop Holdings Ltd, which owns,” says Craig Pellett.

“The acquisition is a clear indication that we are committed to being a serious player in the online media sector in New Zealand.”

“NewsRoom is both separate from but also highly complementary to Scoop’s suite of products and when the two are formally aligned under a common legal and management structure together they will provide a strong foundation for future growth. That is our intention, subject to agreement by the board and shareholders of Scoop Holdings Ltd,” he says.

Scoop was a breakaway from Newsroom over a decade ago, and so it is interesting they have ended up back together again. I suspect they’ll merge at some point.

A related challenge is that both media outlets will now be under the effective control of Selwyn Pellett, a prominent Labour activist and donor. How will they deal with editorial independence?

So interesting times in the online media and political worlds.

A tweeting Minister

December 8th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Fran O’Sullivan at NZ Herald writes:

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has taken a leaf out of Obama’s book by taking to Twitter to chew out high-tech entrepreneur Selwyn Pellett for raising hell over the Endace takeover.

Joyce’s Twitter exchange was more prosaic than the US President’s, but no less focused.

What got up Joyce’s nose was the implication that Pellett – who is a cherished Labour Party favourite – was having a bob each way on the issue du jour: whether Endace should pay back $11 million of Government R&D loans it received before it passes into 100 per cent foreign ownership, substantially enriching its founders.

Let’s say upfront that Pellett has been a thorn in the Government’s side.

I expect he will be on the Labour Party list. He is their biggest cheerleader on Twitter.

He is a spokesman for the Productive Economy Council and has kicked the Government’s shins hard over its plans to sell down its holdings in state-owned assets. So it’s no surprise that Joyce – who has been remarkably unrestrained recently – took the opportunity to have a slash back. …

The Twitter battle between Joyce and Pellett was great sport:

“So you collect taxpayer support, decide to sell shares, make lots of money & then moan about it in @nzherald #unbelievable … BTW R & D co-funding is about doing R&D in NZ, not supporting individuals. But happy 4 u 2 repay so we can fund others,” Joyce tweeted at Pellett.

Pellett tweeted back: “Mr Joyce, you should check all yr facts. Interesting a Minister would target an individual for speaking out on policy.”

It’s called hypocrisy. It is fine to target people for that.

Pellett calls on Goff to resign as Labour Leader

April 6th, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Bernard Hickey writes:

Imarda Chief Executive and Endace co-founder Selwyn Pellett has called on Labour leader Phil Goff to stand down to allow Labour to strengthen its opposition to the policies of the National-led Government.

Pellett is an economic policy activist with links to the Labour movement, having spoken at the last two Labour Party conferences about the need for economic and monetary policy reform.

Pellett said voters had stopped listening to Labour under Goff and it was time for the opposition to renew itself cleanly before an election wipeout.

“Labour is likely to lose the election no matter who is leading it, but with Phil Goff at the helm it could be a devastating result. People have simply stopped listening,” Pellett said.

“It’s sad as Phil is a very nice and sincere man, but now it’s time for him to go,” he said.

Pellett made the comments in a comment thread under a blog post on Productive Economic Council (PEC) , a business lobby group co-founded by Pellett.

Pellett is very aligned with Labour. He’s been quoted eight times on Red Alert alone. This is arguably their most high profile business backer, since they lost Owen Glenn.

Pellett said the Labour caucus already knew who the contenders were to replace Goff.

“I personally hope Phil will just stand down and avoid splitting the caucus and the party. People’s instincts are that greed and lack of appropriate market regulation caused the global financial crises and lost them their jobs and savings,” he said.

“They may not understand the intricacies of what happened but they understand it was wrong and now they need credible political advocates to champion their corner. Phil Goff hasn’t delivered that for our country and we need it.”

Those are damning words by one of Labour’s biggest supporters.