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Tiny Deane sells Rotorua emergency housing security business Tigers Express Security to Armourguard

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Tiny Deane has sold his controversial security business. Photo / Andrew Warner

Emergency housing manager Tiny Deane says he has sold his controversial Rotorua security business.

It comes eight months after a licensing authority ordered him to do so and following his six deadline extensions.

Deane set up Tigers Express Security to look after the seven emergency housing motels managed by Visions of a Helping Hand Charitable Trust. At the time he was chief executive of the business and the trust.

The Rotorua Daily Post reported the trust received $15.6 million in revenue in the last financial year – $12m of which was from government contracts. Records showed it paid $3.6m that year to Tigers Express Security to provide security for the seven motels.

In June the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority found Deane guilty of misconduct. It ruled he had to sell the business given government rules required a clear separation between social support and security services.

It held off a penalty decision until the business was sold.

Deane was given until August 20 to sell. The deadline was later extended six times, most recently until February 20.

Deane and the authority have now confirmed the sale agreement is complete and the new owner took over last week.

Visions of a Helping Hand chief executive officer Tiny Deane. Photo / NZME
Visions of a Helping Hand chief executive officer Tiny Deane. Photo / NZME

The authority has told the Rotorua Daily Post the security business was bought by Armourguard and would be run under that name and the Armourguard corporate structure. It understood the employees and contracts had been transferred to the new owner.

The authority said Deane kept his shares in the Tigers Express Security company but that company no longer owned or profited from the security business the company used to run.

“We understand Mr Deane has stepped away from the security business completely,” the authority said in an emailed statement.

Authority head Trish McConnell intended to have the penalty decision completed next week, the statement said.

Deane confirmed to the Rotorua Daily Post this week in an email via his executive assistant the sale had gone through and the new owner took over on February 5.

Armourguard declined to comment.

Rotorua MP Todd McClay addresses the crowd at National's housing policy launch in Rotorua. Photo / Supplied
Rotorua MP Todd McClay addresses the crowd at National’s housing policy launch in Rotorua. Photo / Supplied

In the June decision, the authority criticised Deane for being at the helm of both businesses because it conflicted with the Government’s requirement for a clear separation between social support and security services.

It ruled he must sell the business or it would face losing its operating licence.

The authority gave him until August 20, to lessen the impact on its 50 staff.

A Tigers Express Security vehicle. Photo / Andrew Warner
A Tigers Express Security vehicle. Photo / Andrew Warner

The authority found Deane employed two security guards — who he knew were linked to gangs — without proper security licences and allowed them to work after their licence applications were declined.

It said his “failures and misconduct” meant he was “not suitable to be the managing director and sole officer of a security company”.

Deane stepped down from his role at Visions following the authority’s ruling but resumed his role on August 21.

The Auditor-General will not undertake an inquiry into public money given to Visions of a Helping Hand Trust, despite a request last year by Rotorua MP Todd McClay.

McClay’s September request related to the millions in government money paid to the trust in the previous two financial years.

He said at the time his request was to ensure taxpayer money had been used appropriately.

Rotorua MP Todd McClay. Photo / Andrew Warner
Rotorua MP Todd McClay. Photo / Andrew Warner

Deane said at the time he welcomed the scrutiny as he said he had nothing to hide and was “sick of people running him down”.

A spokesman for the Auditor-General ‘s office told the Rotorua Daily Post it carefully considered McClay’s request but it could not audit the actions or finances of private organisations such as Visions of a Helping Hand.

He also noted there had been several other reviews of the Rotorua emergency housing pilot, of emergency housing generally and of the management of the housing sector so it would not inquire into the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development’s management of its contract with Visions of a Housing Hand Trust.

“We remain interested in the housing and urban development sector and our 2023/24 annual plan includes work in this area. Aspects of emergency housing will also be part of our regular annual audit work,” the spokesman said.

Kelly Makiha is a senior journalist who has reported for the Rotorua Daily Post for more than 25 years, covering mainly police, court, human interest and social issues.



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