Is it game over?

November 16th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post report:

Terry Serepisos is facing fresh legal action, with the Inland Revenue Department seeking to liquidate five of his companies – including the one which owns the Wellington Phoenix – over $3.58 million in unpaid taxes.

The largest sum – more than $1.5m – is owed by Century City Football, owner of the Phoenix football team, for PAYE tax deductions, GST and KiwiSaver contributions.

I hope Serepisos survives, but if he does I suspect he will not be hosting The Apprentice again anytime soon.

In July I was in Hong Kong and surprised to see very large ads in the local paper there for his new apartment block. My reaction was that sales back home can’t be going too well, if you are needing to advertise in Hong Kong.

A Wellington City Council spokesman, Richard MacLean, said the council was “very concerned” over the future of the Phoenix but was unlikely to contribute ratepayers’ money. “We are not in the business of owning a football club.”


I’d love the team to survive also, but it is not the role of council to fund sports teams – sports infrastructure is another matter though.

Were Close Up leaned on?

May 2nd, 2010 at 11:04 am by David Farrar

Brian Edwards blogs:

But the eagle-eyed little bird had spotted something strange in the Close Up story. In it reporter Daniel Faitaua interviews David Henshilwood and his wife Sally about their problems with Serepisos. Referring to the interview, Faitaua says in voice-over, ‘That was them four weeks ago when they told us of their frustration trying to get paid for installing screens in Terry Serepisos’ Century City Hotel.’

Whoa there! Four weeks ago! You interviewed the Henshilwoods four weeks ago, but you only approached Sereposis’ office yesterday to seek a response. Isn’t that just a little strange?

The eagle-eyed little bird thought so and made a few discreet inquiries. ‘I’m told,’ he tweeted in my ear, ‘that Close Up was instructed not to run the story because it would embarrass TVNZ for not doing proper checks on Mr Serepisos before accepting him for the show. It’s only hearsay of course.’

I am sure normally Close Up do not wait four weeks before following up a story. It would be good to know if they were ordered to wait, to avoid damage to The Apprentice.

Well, if my eagle-eyed little bird has it right, it’s kinda sad isn’t it.  For a network to instruct or  even suggest to  a current affairs programme that it ought to abandon or delay an item of public interest on the grounds that the item might damage the reputation or ratings of one  of the network’s other programmes, really isn’t journalistically or morally defensible.

And if it didn’t happen like that, I’m happy to retract and apologise to TVNZ. As for my eagle-eyed little feathered friend, he may have to watch out for passing birdshot.

Sounds like a good topic for Media 7.

They don’t get it

April 25th, 2010 at 10:16 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

Glenn Sims, managing director of Redflame Media and producer of The Apprentice, last night defended his star: “I’m not worried about Terry’s credibility because all these attacks are Tall Poppy syndrome.”

All the stuff/rumours about Terry’s past are probably tall poppy syndrome. But the inability to pay his bill is not an attack – it is a matter of fact.

TVNZ was also standing by the top-rating show. Spokeswoman Megan Richards said: “Serepisos’ private affairs are his own business, and we will not be commenting.”

What nonsense. When you are promoting him as one of the most successful businessmen in NZ, and someone who people would aspire to work for, then it is absolutely relevant whether or not he can pay his bills or not.

TVNZ had undertaken due diligence prior to Serepisos’ being picked for the show.

Did that include a credit check?

Cash crisis for Serepisos

April 24th, 2010 at 12:06 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

The Apprentice star Terry Serepisos is being chased by creditors and is struggling to pay about $2 million in unpaid rates and ground rents to Wellington City Council.

A Dominion Post investigation has learnt that the council has met regularly with Mr Serepisos – but he has yet to settle the substantial debt.

It is understood Mr Serepisos has told the council he is struggling to pay – and if the council takes action to recover the money it could jeopardise the Wellington Phoenix football franchise he owns. Mr Serepisos said yesterday that he had pumped a total of $5 million into the football club, which this week received a five-year extension to continue in the A-League.

I have to say that one shouldn’t make sponsorship commitments, if you can’t provide the support promised. Not paying rates, so one can continue the sponsorship is not an enduring solution.

Mr Serepisos said he had spent vast sums promoting Wellington, bankrolling the Phoenix and working with several charities and the community.

“I’m pouring in millions and millions of dollars to promote this city and doing all these things I do. And I feel a little disheartened that a handful of people are taking pot shots at me.”

Which is all great, and I think the Phoenix are great. But the obligation is to meet your legal and contractual obligations first. If you are unable to pay your rates, because of the Phoenix sponsorship, then you are not sponsoring the Phoenix – I am – along with all the other ratepayers who do pay our rates.

And it goes without saying how bad a look it is for The Apprentice TV show, to have the boss in the media for being unable to pay his bills. Maybe the winner should make sure they get the $200,000 in advance!

Another Dom Post story also has details of other creditors claiming they have not been paid.

The NZ Apprentice

February 17th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Yep I tuned in last night. I was amused that the “HQ” for the show is at City Life Apartments off Queen Street, as that is my normal hotel in Auckland (I often can get a suite for $150). So I know a lot of the sights they film in the hotel.

I am not sure the show will work well in NZ. The US shows works for several reasons:

  1. Working for Trump gets you an amazing network of contacts
  2. Trump has presence and an ego, which work together
  3. The tasks on the US show often involve working for iconic companies, and meeting heir top officials
  4. The treats for the winning team are often amazing

The treat for the winning team last time was to have a dinner at Dine (in Sky City Grand). Now that is one of Auckland’s better restaurants, but hell I’ve had dinner there half a dozen times. This is not a place you have to book six months in advance. Getting to go there isn’t somethng that would be hard to do yourselves.

Serepisos as the boss, did better than I expected.  I liked it when he dissed the person who mispronounced his name. His two off-siders are not a match for George and Caroline.

Julie Jacobson is blogging her take on the series.

Kim Laurenson got fired last night. A pity really as I thought she performed quite well. On the other hand she is a real estate agent (if one more sends me unsolicited junk mail I will go postal) which is a negative, but she also owns a boutique clothing store and does Ironman triathlons.

The Apprentice – New Zealand

November 1st, 2009 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

I’m with Cactus on this.

I can’t see the cream of NZ’s aspiring business leaders applying to be The Apprentice just to earn a six figure salary working for Terry Serepisos.

Most business graduates reckon they will be earning $100,000+ before they are 30 anyway.

But it is not just about salary. The US Apprentice worked so well as people would do anything to work for the Don. Not so much for the US$250,000 salary but for the prestige, and more importantly the wealth of contacts you gain. Working for Trump will get you through almost any door.

I think Serepisos has been very successful, and like what he has done with the Pheonix. He isn’t a bad choice for the role, but the problem is that with one or two exceptions there are no good choices.

Unlike the US, you don’t need to work for a top businessman, to gain access to top business and political leaders. We are a small enough country that people see them all the time.

So what was needed was a strong personality. Bob Jones would have been ideal 20 years ago. It would have been the best viewing possible.