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Update on Wings and Wheels refund process

Commerce Commission update on Wings and Wheels refund process

In March 2008 the Commission obtained a court order freezing the assets of Hawker Holdings, Airshow.co.nz - Media Limited, airshow.co.nz Limited and Kenneth James Ross, so that ticket money would be available for refunds. In an agreement reached between the airshow organisers and the Commission in June, ticketholders' funds were paid into the trust account of the organisers' solicitors and the organisers undertook to administer the process of refunding ticket holders. However, the company has gone into liquidation and subsequently the organisers have behaved in a manner inconsistent with this agreement. This included directing all refund applications to the Minister of Commerce, Lianne Dalziel, instead of to the organisers.

Ticket holders can now access a refund form via the home page of the Commerce Commission's website www.comcom.govt.nz. Ticket holders are advised to disregard the refund form posted on airshow.co.nz. Any ticket holders who have already sent refund forms to either the airshow or to the Minister's office can be assured that their documentation will be collected and held by the Commission.

"The Commission has given the airshow organisers ample opportunity to facilitate the refund process for ticket holders. However, recent developments, including the liquidation of the company and the organisers' directing that the refund form be sent to the wrong office, mean that the Commission has no choice but to step in, in order to continue to protect the ticket holders' interests. At the same time we are in discussion with the liquidator regarding the status of the ticket holders' funds," said Adrian Sparrow, Commerce Commission Director of Fair Trading.

"The most effective way for ticket holders to communicate with the Commission regarding the refund process is by completing the application form on the Commission's website," said Mr Sparrow. Ticket holders should also ensure that they keep copies of any documentation of materials that they send to the Commission.

Although airshow.co.nz Limited is in liquidation, ticket holders' funds are being held in trust. The Commission's view is that the funds are held on constructive trust for ticketholders, and the terms of the agreement between the Commission and Mr Ross do not allow release of those funds to the liquidator.

"The liquidation of the companies means that unfortunately ticketholders can expect a continued delay in obtaining a refund. The Commission is in discussion with the liquidator and will continue to take all necessary steps to protect the rights of ticket holders," said Mr Sparrow.

Ticket holders should be aware that it is possible that this matter will be referred to the High Court and if the Court does determine that no trust relationship exists, ticket holders are likely to be treated as unsecured creditors of airshow.co.nz Limited and share in the company's assets equally with all other unsecured creditors.


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