Insolvency no bar to holiday

MARTIN VAN BEYNEN
Last updated 05:00 05/04/2014
Craig Johnson
PROBE: Craig Johnson, left, speaks to reporter Blair Ensor at his home in Whangaparaoa, north of Auckland.

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His company is in liquidation with debts of $2 million. And he says he is struggling to feed his children.

Neither, however, have stopped Craig Johnson, 29, taking his family for a holiday at the luxury Aggie Grey's Resort near Apia in Samoa.

Johnson was spotted at the resort this week by a Christchurch plumbing contractor to whom Johnson's company owes about $25,000. Johnson, his wife and two children flew to Samoa on Wednesday.

The contractor, who did not want to be named, said meeting Johnson at the resort was awkward as he could not help thinking he was paying for Johnson's holiday. They had exchanged words.

The money owed related to five jobs he had done for Johnson whose company was continuously behind on paying its bills. The Press contacted Johnson at the resort but he hung up.

Johnson's company, NZ Premium Construction, went into liquidation in February when creditors refused to give it more time to pay.

Latest figures show the company owes $1.9m to unsecured creditors and $2m overall.

A Christchurch couple have asked police to investigate the collapse as they have questions about the $1.5m they paid to NZ Premium to rebuild and repair their house.

After the collapse, Johnson left Christchurch for Auckland where he lives in a new $1.2m property and drives a new X5 BMW.

He was also an informant in a major Serious Fraud Office investigation into two Christchurch companies that ended last year with the companies being cleared of fraud.

When The Press approached Johnson two weeks ago he said he had done nothing wrong and was struggling himself, even to the extent of being unable to feed his two children. He said he was working all hours to pay his debts.

Tony Smart, of Christchurch company Paint Smart, which is owed nearly $60,000 by NZ Premium, was unhappy to hear about Johnson's trip to Samoa.

"I'm struggling to pay my bills and he is on holiday. He's made my life difficult. I feel like I've paid for his lifestyle."

Smart claimed that only a week before the liquidation, Johnson had assured him Paint Smart would be paid.

"The amount I did get paid hardly covered the cost of materials."

The liquidator, Waterstone Insolvency, is holding a creditors' meeting in Christchurch on Monday.

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