Smolenski businesses close down

Offers over $4.9 million for this Streamside Lane home at Millbrook. Photo: Miranda Cook
Offers over $4.9 million for this Streamside Lane home at Millbrook. Photo: Miranda Cook
Queenstown businessman Graham Smolenski is in financial strife again, eight years after the collapse of his insurance company Western Pacific.

Auckland engineering company Calibre Contracting Equipment, majority owned by GL Smolenski Investments, has ceased operations with the loss of three jobs.

Its Brisbane-based operation was placed in liquidation in May.

Mr Smolenski yesterday confirmed the closures, saying the Australian company had been the result of ''the failure of a third-party supplier relationship resulting in us withdrawing product from the market.''

However, a source close to the business accused Mr Smolenski of creating an excessively ''top heavy'' structure.

''At one stage Mr Smolenski's brother and his two daughters all worked for the company and he was taking a lot out of the business in his personal capacity,'' he said.

Calibre, formed in 2009 through the merger of JB Attachments and Smolenski-owned BAS Contracting, had recently sold full ownership of its Sure-Grip, Heli-Tilt, and Ram-Tilt Coupler brands to engineering firm Attach2 Equipment.

Attach2 said it had also employed the core Calibre team in Brisbane to support its transtasman clients.

Mr Smolenski (68) is a co-founder of Millbrook Resort, as well as a former shareholder and director of companies including NZSki, Queenstown Airport and Gibbston Wines.

He confirmed yesterday that he had resigned all of his directorships and was involved in a ''significant downsizing and change in lifestyle''.

According to the source, that downsizing had included the sale of luxury vehicles and an apartment in Queensland, Australia.

It was also understood he had a tax liability with Inland Revenue and other creditors.

Mr Smolenski said that the intended sale of his five-bedroom, four-bathroom Streamside Lane, Millbrook home was also part of ''downsizing and slowing down as part of my retirement plan''.

The house is registered online for ''inquiries over $4.9million''.

Western Pacific was placed in liquidation in 2011, owing almost $8million to creditors and more than $65million across more than 200 claims stemming from the September 2010 and February 2011 Christchurch earthquakes.

Canterbury policy holders were subsequently paid a total of $36.8million by liquidators during 2017.

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