OUT-rageous Sultan's NZ fortune
Are we feeding anti-gay Sultan’s cash cow in the heart of Auckland?
Brunei has recently introduced strict sharia law with penalties including flogging, the dismemberment of limbs and stoning to death (for homosexuals). The new legislation caused an outrage among human rights organizations and a spreading boycott of the Sultan’s owned hotels from the Dorcherster Collection chain, in particular the iconic Beverley Hills Hotel.
A range of celebrities support the boycott including Elton John, Richard Branson, Ellen De Generis, Stephen Fry and Anna Wintour. A day of global protests against the Sultan of Brunei’s ‘stone the gays’ law is scheduled for tomorrow, 27jun.
Activists in 13 cities worldwide are planning to participate in protests. In Los Angeles, London, Paris, Rome, Milan and Geneva protests will be held in front of Dorchester Collection Hotels. In Washington, Ottawa, Deli, Brussels, Manila and Canberra protesters meet outside Brunei’s diplomatic missions.
The High Commissioner of Brunei in New Zealand is stationed outside of NZ, but is reachable on Facebook. Brunei Government owned Royal Brunei Airlines have representative office in Auckland at Level 6, 52 Swanson St. After 120mln renovation one of the Royal Brunei branded Boeing 747 has been set aside exclusively for the Sultan, turned into a flying palace equipped with wash basins of solid gold. With unlimited at the tap access to petrol, the airline undercuts competition luring New Zealanders with heavily discounted fares to fly to London via Brunei. Special offers from Royal Brunei Airlines are prominently advertised by the House of Travel and the airline is also featured on Expedia, the Flight Centre and STA NZ websites.
New Zealand is the 4th biggest export market for Brunei, mostly buying there petrol. While Sultan cashed out 35mln by selling 11 of his properties in Herne Bay, he is still holding onto his crown jewel investment in NZ, $44mln worth BNZ Centre at 125 Queen st, Auckland. Last year it reported net profit of $3,4mln, with New World Metro supermarket being the main tenant. LGBT customers are known to be found of New World’s store in Ponsonby and this ‘proudly 100% NZ owned and operated’ company has been ‘proudly supporting our community’ distributing Gayexpress newspaper and signing up drag queens for function in its Remuera store. At the same time its flagship Queen Street store has effectively became the main income contributor for the Sultan in New Zealand.