Gough's sister 'won't sell'

01:30, Dec 06 2013

Avenal McKinnon, twin sister of flamboyant Christchurch property developer Antony Gough, says she does not want to sell her shares in the 85-year-old Canterbury family business Gough Holdings.

Deep divisions in the wealthy local family, estimated to be worth $300 million, have been exposed by a High Court judgment.

It rules that Avenal is entitled to have her share of the family trust, O T Gough Family Trust, distributed to her.

The main asset of the trust is a 42 per cent shareholding in Gough Holdings, formerly Gough, Gough & Hamer, a large company of 950 staff selling and servicing heavy machinery, making hundreds of millions of dollars of sales each year.

Avenal lives in Wellington and is the director of the National Portrait Gallery there.


She is married to John McKinnon, a diplomat and former ambassador to China. He is now the executive director of the Asia New Zealand Foundation. He is the younger brother of former National Party politician Don McKinnon, who is a former Commonwealth secretary-general.

Her brother, Harcourt, has led family opposition to her bid to hold the shares individually rather than in the trust. He is supported by brothers Antony and Tracy Gough.

Harcourt fears the break-up of the 42 per cent stake will weaken his branch of the Gough family's influence in the company.

Younger relative Ben Gough, from another branch, has already stolen a march and controls just over 50 per cent of the shares.

Asked if she wanted to sell the Gough shares, Avenal said yesterday: "No, not sell them".

"They were held in trust for me since I was a little child and now I have asked for them.

"My father died some years back.

"My brothers and I are all mature people and so they have now vested but I have to ask for a court ruling on that."

Avenal, Antony, Tracy and Harcourt are the children of Owen Gough, the only son from Tracy Thomas Gough's first marriage.

Tracy Thomas Gough was one of the founders of the company.

Ben and Gina Satterthwaite are the offspring of Blair T Gough, the only son from the second marriage of Tracy Thomas Gough.

Ben has been seeking a higher profile and role at the company for some time. In July last year he announced he was the first family member in 55 years to control more than 50 per cent of the Gough shares. He is a director and an executive at the company.

Yesterday Ben declined to comment on the family turmoil in the O T Gough branch.

"Litigation is going on at the moment. I think that's a private matter for the O T Gough family.

"It's probably not something I want to comment on."

Asked if he was interested in buying Avenal's shares, he said he was not a party to the current litigation and "it's probably not appropriate for me to comment".

"The OTG branch are going through a process and I think it's fair to let them undertake that process without me commenting at the moment."

Harcourt made his own bid for 100 per cent control nearly 30 years ago, according to a report in an Australian trade magazine.

He offered to buy all of the family company in 1986, a report in 2004 in the Earthmover and Civil Contractor magazine said. "However, internal politics intervened and the family declined the offer," the magazine reported.

The Press