Newsletter 3


Flat Rock Forests Trust Newsletter #3

14 December 1999

For those of you who have waited patiently, I apologise that it took me this long to get another newsletter out.  If this is the first time you’ve heard from me, it’s because I recently improved the quality of my address file — I checked the online white pages ( for your current address.  (I found a different address than the one on file for about 1 in 10 of those of you who haven’t responded.)  If you received previous letters but tossed them, you won’t receive anything further from me even if all you do toss this one too.  (But hey, why not read it first?)

Also, I apologise that a few of you got two copies of the last newsletter.  Due to an operator error (mine), I sent duplicate letters to about 50 people.  That problem shouldn’t recur, now that I understand how to avoid it.  (Paper jammed in the printer and I didn’t clear the buffer before restarting.)  If this is the first you’ve heard from me: briefly, I don’t think Flat Rock Forests Trust is quite the dead issue the Manager and Trustee would like you to think it is.  I believe a real possibility exists for laying a claim in court.  To do this for least cost entails action against the Trustee for breach of Trust.  (More on this momentarily.)

I’ve received replies (mail, email and phone) from roughly 700 (of about 1150) of you.  (It’s hard to be exact about unitholder numbers because at least three couples have parted since buying units, usually splitting joint holdings.  I conservatively counted these divorced unitholders as ½ unitholder each.  Perhaps they should more properly each be full unitholders and the number of unitholders increased accordingly.  If it’s essential to be exact, we’ll ask an expert.

What picture of the “typical” unitholder has emerged?

bulletYou are doctors (including several specialists, one or more of whom are prominent), also dentists, at least two optometrists, at least one pharmacist.
bulletLots of you are lawyers and at least two bankers.
bulletSeveral financial advisors.  (Were financial advisors paid in units to promote this Trust?  Can one of you answer that?  Is that a common practice?)
bulletAt least one of you teaches High school, several are professors, at least two are scientists, at least three are computer specialists.
bulletSeveral of you are accountants.
bulletAt least three of you are in forest-related fields; at least two sold your forests to the trust at least in part by taking on now-worthless Flat Rock units.  A couple of you are farmers and at least one a lawn specialist.
bulletOne unitholder is actually a group of people who play volleyball.
bulletAt least one of you is a successful novelist, at least one is a Justice of the Peace, and at least one a nonagenarian.
bulletAt least one of you is a travel specialist, one couple owns a motel, one unitholder has a lodge.
bulletAt least one of you is a builder, and at least one an electrical consultant.
bulletSeveral of you identified yourselves only as “retired.”
bulletOne (at least) of you is a counsellor, and at least one a psychotherapist.
bulletOne of you is a newspaperman, one a printer.
bulletOne works for Inland Revenue, one for WINZ.

I’ve personally met about 10 of you and talked on the phone with several hundred.  I still have outstanding issues with 39 of you — you’ve asked me a question, or indicated we should meet in person or you proffered a really valuable service I’d like to avail myself of, but just haven’t gotten to yet.  I will be in touch.  I very much appreciate all the information that’s come from unexpected sources.

I don’t know what most of you do, but if you want to include that information when you send your slips back, I’ll put it in my database.  What slips? you ask.  (It’ll be on the next page.)

Three of you included your website addresses.  If you want me to include your URL on the Flat Rock web page, let me know.  Several of you are friends, related to, or neighbours of each other.  Roughly 25% of unitholders have email addresses — but more than 1/3 of respondents had email (email makes responding easier?).  Lots of you used investors.  Many acted after listening to a seminar, a radio program, or seeing an article in a trade or investor journal.

You’re probably more interested in assessing your chances of getting some, or all, or your money back.  Some of the Trust’s records are approaching the seven-year limit after which they could be destroyed.  The Serious Fraud Office has them secured right now.  According to the Unit Trust Act (1960), if at least 10% of unitholders apply to the High Court, the Court may appoint one or more inspectors to investigate and report on the affairs of any unit trust and its manager.  This is exactly what we need!  I’ve included a form to be signed and sent back at the bottom of the page.  The High Court filing will cost about $5000.  We intend to use the law firm Cooper Rapley in Palmerston North (who might quite possibly employ the nicest lawyers in New Zealand).  For those of you who have already sent money, stamps, cash, or vouchers, your thoughtful contributions have been noted in the database.  So far, donations total about $400.  It costs about $600 to send out each newsletter and the web page will cost about $60 per month.  But hey — I’m getting an education out of the experience.

Over the past 3 years I’ve invested considerable time and money investigating this matter.  I know from discussions with many of you that contributing to this effort in a financial capacity is simply not an option.  Others have generously offered to provide some measure of financial support when the time comes.  Knowing full well that not everyone can contribute, if those that can were to enclose $20, it would really help offset costs.  I assure you all money will be accounted for and receipts provided.

The web page will be up in a couple of weeks — the design is done, but we have lots of data to load.  Check this spot

anytime after about 20 December.  A lot of your questions will be answered there.  For those without access, if you’ll check the box on your slip, I’ll send an information packet.  For those who can afford it, please contribute what you can — $20 would be great!  If you can’t afford to/just don’t want to donate, PLEASE at least still send in your slip!  There are VERY GOOD reasons why we want to see the Trust’s records.  And a letter to the SFO telling them you really support their investigation of Flat Rock wouldn’t be amiss, either (SFO, P O Box 7124 Wellesley Street, Auckland,  (If you don’t know the exact number of units you hold in the Trust, I can fill that in for most of you.)

My phone number is (04) 385 1327.  My email address is  Let me hear from you if you have any questions.  And PLEASE send in your slip!

Ruth Hatch


I/We,___________________________________________, certify that I am/we are unitholder(s) in Flat Rock Forests Trust.  I/we apply to the High Court to appoint one or more Inspectors to investigate and report on the affairs of Flat Rock Forests Trust and its Manager, New Zealand Trade & Investment Limited (NZTIL).  We own ________ units in Flat Rock Forests Trust.





Return to: P O Box 6650, Wellington

For news articles on the Flat Rock Forests Trust, forestry, the Serious Fraud Office, one immigrant family's experiences, immigration specialists, fraud, juries, logging, and more, pressing the "Up" key below will take you to the Table of Contents for this News section.  Or you may wish to visit the Forestry Trust Table of Contents to read how a unit trust went bust.  Or the Topics Table of Contents which offers a different approach to lots of topics - among them poisonous insects, eating dogs, what's addictive, training vs teaching, tornados, unusual flying machines, humour, wearable computers, IQ tests, health, Y chromosomes, share options, New Jersey's positive side, oddities, ageing, burial alternatives, capital punishment, affairs, poverty, McCarthyism, the most beautiful city in the world, neverending work and more...

Back Home Up Next