Broadcasters who have interviewed Marama Fox perhaps could help liquidators who can’t find her to serve papers

Liquidators of Marama Fox’s failed consulting company have had to engage agents to track down the former Maori Party leader, according to a Newsroom report today.

The report says creditors have claimed Fox owes them more than $111,000, which she said she planned to pay back through personal finance, soon after her company went into liquidation last year.

It also says Fox has not fronted up with any money and the company’s liquidator Grant Reynolds said he had not been able to get in contact with her for the past few months.

Reynolds said he now planned to serve legal proceedings against Fox, for a breach of her duties as a director.

However, he was not able to serve her with the papers to launch the proceedings without knowing where she was.

Some people believed Fox had moved to Australia, and a photo on her Facebook page pointed to her being in Australia at some point during the year.

The liquidators should have a chat with Morgan Godfrey, writer and trade unionist, or broadcasters Aannabelle Lee-Mather and Mihingarangi Forbes.

Godfrey  has interviewed Fox for a RNZ/NZ On Air video and podcast series which – unlike any other series we can recall – was launched at Parliament last week.

In this six-part series, acclaimed political writer and commentator Morgan Godfery conducts frank interviews with six former Māori MPs: Hon Dame Tariana Turia, Metiria Turei, Hon Sandra Lee, Hon Tuariki Delemere, Hon Tau Henare and Marama Fox.

Produced and directed by journalists Annabelle Lee-Mather and Mihingarangi Forbes, the series takes its name from Parliament’s former Māori Affairs Committee room ‘Matangireia’ which was built in 1922. It is also where the series was filmed.

Lee-Mather said it was fitting that the series was recorded in a room that holds such a significant place in the history of Māori politics.

Publicity accompanying the launch says the series provides new and compelling insights into the most challenging moments of six political careers, with the former politicians opening up about their darkest days and their moments of triumph. They also discuss the difficulties of transitioning to life after politics.

According to the notes on the interview with Fox:

She came to parliament in 2014 like a bolt from the blue. Former Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox spent just three years in Parliament but made a big impression. The mother of nine from Masterton became known for her no-holds-barred approach to politics and quickly became a darling of the press gallery. But the Māori Party’s relationship with National and Jacinda-mania prematurely ended Fox’s political career. She reflects on the fall of the Māori Party and the challenges of life in the public eye.

But Fox’s political career can not be said to have been snuffed by the 2017 general election wipeout of the Maori Party.  She did not quit as co-leader of the Party until news emerged almost a year later of her struggle to deal with unpaid debts of over $87,500 from a failed business.

After the election Fox set up a consultancy in Masterton which was put into liquidation in August last year.

Former Maori Party MP and co-leader Marama Fox’s consultancy company Marama Fox Consultancy Group Tapui Limited has been liquidated over a debt that was failed to be resolved.

Associate Judge Kenneth Johnston made the order to liquidate Fox’s company today.

Ohnyx IT Solutions Limited filed the proceedings against her company at the High Court in Wellington early last month.

Stuff understands Ohnyx was owed more than $30,000 from Fox’s company.

Fox was listed as the sole director of the company that was registered in Masterton and formed in October 2017.

When Fox resigned as co-leader of the Maori Party Newshub reported her debtors declined to speak but she owed:

  • $40,000 to a travel agent
  • $30,000 to an IT company
  • $15,000 in unpaid rent and eviction costs for the commercial premises
  • $2500 for glass whiteboard
  • an unknown debt to Fuji Xerox.

The same Newshub report recalled:

Not long ago she was in her full glory on Dancing With The Stars, raising money for charity.

“I’m just really proud we could raise money for Ka Pai Kaiti,” she said at the time.

But back in her home town of Masterton, she was “losing” money – although she promises to pay it all back.

“We’re working tirelessly to pay everybody back,” she said.

Diversity was not one of the consultancy’s strengths.  Just as the Maori Party is a race-based party with a race-based policy agenda, Fox’s aim was to buy up vacant land in Masterton and put affordable homes for Māori  on it.

The idea was to start with 120 homes in the Wairarapa, then hundreds more around the country.

Newshub’s investigations have found Marama Fox did have the backing of a consortium of business people, but the money never came through and no land was ever purchased. On top of that, her consultancy could not pay the debts.

Fox was listed as the sole director of the company that was registered in Masterton and formed in October 2017.

The Newsroom report today recalls Fox telling it she was “devastated”, saying she apologised unreservedly for what had happened.

She said she was fully co-operating with the liquidator, and later said she would be able to personally raise the money and pay everyone back.

Liquidator Grant Reynolds said he has met legal counsel and drafted the case against her, but he has held off filing proceedings until she was able to be located.