Pensioner at loggerheads with Rich List Kiwi oligarch
It’s been a bizarre year for NBR rich-lister Stephen Jennings, the 50-year-old Russian-domiciled New Zealander worth an estimated $900 million.
First, his ex-wife Tina, who exited a few years ago, started dating 80-year-old Lord Nigel Lawson, one-time Chancellor of the UK Exchequer and father of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson.
And now another octogenarian has unexpectedly entered his life, this one accusing him of being a negligent neighbour.
Eighty-six-year-old Dr John Valentine is taking Mr Jennings to task over a tree which is marring the view from his seaside home at Oakura in Taranaki.
The offending pohutukawa tree sits in the grounds of Mr Jennings' luxury beachfront holiday home, which is just across the road from the retired doctor.
Dr Valentine has twice written to Mr Jennings' father asking him to get his son to trim the tree but has received no reply.
Which is not surprising given that Mr Jennings junior has lived in Russia for the last 20 years and appears to be an infrequent visitor to his New Zealand bach.
What Dr Valentine plans to do next to get the tree trimmed is up in the air, but it would be a brave man who took Mr Jennings to court over it.
The man dubbed the “Kiwi oligarch” may have dropped five places on the NBR Rich List but he has still got a huge war chest, despite shelling out an estimated $122 million to ex-wife Tina.
He has also got a reputation as a battler who doesn’t like being beaten, having earned and lost two fortunes on the volatile Russian markets.
At one stage he was the richest New Zealander in the world, with Forbes magazine estimating his wealth at $5.2 billion.
Now, of course, he’s down to his last $900 million – more than enough to hire an arborist, you’d think.
So, Mr Jennings, if you happen to read this story on your laptop or iPhone somewhere in Russia, please spare a thought for Dr Valentine in Oakura.
Making amends with him won’t cost nearly as much as someone else who was once in your life.