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Liquidation leaves council in lurch

The company building Masterton District Council’s [MDC] youth hub facility has gone into liquidation, leaving the council $260,000 out of pocket.

In late 2021, MDC announced it had signed a contract with Podular to supply a building next to the revamped skatepark site for a youth hub.

The designs included an observation deck, a small coffee kiosk/food counter, toilets [including a disabled access bathroom], space for skate equipment, a meeting space, and informal hang-out areas.

The council approved $538,570 for the project as part of the 2021-31 Long-Term Plan, with a $120,000 contribution from the Ministry for Youth Development and the Department of Internal Affairs.

But Liquidators Gerry Rea Partners announced Podular’s shareholders put the company into liquidation at 5.23pm on November 25.

“We intend to publish our liquidators’ initial report on Friday, which will contain our estimation of the assets and liabilities and will include a list of known creditors,” Gerry Rea Partners senior insolvency manager Ben Francis said.

“Our priority has been to secure the premises of the company and the relevant assets.”

Francis said his team had already spoken to “several creditors and customers”.

His team also understood that a number of Podular’s unfinished home-build projects were “at various stages of completion”.

“We are working through these at present with the assistance of our legal advisors,” Francis said.

MDC chief executive David Hopman said the council was “disappointed” to hear the news that Podular had gone into liquidation.

“The council agreed that we use Podular to design and build our Youth Hub in July 2021,” Hopman said.

“The building was due to be delivered and installed at the skatepark in January 2023.

“Obviously, we will do all we can to recover the payments made to the company – currently totalling $260,000 and made up of our initial payment and cost for lodging our building consent.

“We are most disappointed for our ratepayers and our skatepark users, who were looking forward to their youth hub opening.”

Hopman said the council would start work exploring new options to deliver the youth hub facility and hoped a local company would bid for the build when the council called for tenders.

A contact for Podular could not be found by Local Democracy Reporting as websites, and media platforms for the company had been taken down at the time of publication.

-NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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