Tony Malkin ignites a bushfire near Queenstown, New Zealand, with a New Year’s Eve fireworks display
The American billionaire’s controversial New Year’s Eve fireworks show ignites a bushfire near his luxury Queenstown retreat – after neighbors warned it was a huge risk
- Tony Malkin set off fireworks at his retreat near Queenstown, New Zealand
- The light display started a fire in the area and scorched a hillside
- Angry neighbors had fought the billionaire’s plan weeks earlier
An American billionaire’s controversial New Year’s Eve fireworks display has sparked a bushfire in rural New Zealand after locals protested his plans.
Tony Malkin, chief executive of the Empire State Realty Trust, which owns the landmark, hosted a party at his luxurious hilltop retreat in Dalefield, a rural area on the outskirts of Queenstown.
He unleashed the extravagant display, believed to have cost tens of thousands of dollars, to ring in the New Year and lit three bonfires that burned along a nearby hill.
Firefighters were called to Mr Malkin’s property just 10 minutes later and spent several hours putting out the fire.
A fire broke out in a rural area of New Zealand on New Year’s Day after a fireworks display (Image courtesy of Davis Decor Limited Painters & Decorators).
New York billionaire Tony Malkin (pictured) set off the fireworks at his Dalefield retreat despite widespread objections from local residents
The fire was contained by 2.30am after piercing about 0.5 hectares of land and completely blackening a hillside.
Guests at the New York billionaire’s exclusive party were evacuated when the fire was 15 meters from his retreat, according to Stuff.
Volunteer firefighters stayed until 7 a.m. to extinguish local fires and monitor the situation.
Angry local residents protested Mr Malkin’s plans to set off firecrackers at his retreat due to the risk of fire or fear of loud noises for horses and other animals in the area.
Angry neighbors had to cancel their festive plans to stay home with their animals to ensure they weren’t startled.
Neighbor and horse owner Johnny Quinn, who created a petition to stop Mr Malkin’s plan, said the billionaire’s insistence on setting off pyrotechnics when he retreats instills a “fuck you” attitude towards residents.
He claimed the “system was broken” after his wealthy neighbor got approval for his expensive light show, despite widespread objections.
Mr Quinn moved south with his family and horses for the New Year’s weekend and returned on Sunday to view the damage caused by the fireworks on the hillside.
Firefighters were called to retreat about ten minutes after the fireworks began to put out the blaze. It is understood that guests at his party were also evacuated. (Image courtesy of Davis Decor Limited Painters & Decorators)
Tony Malkin’s expansive New Zealand home sits atop a hill in Dalefield, near Queenstown
He told the Daily Mail Australia ahead of New Year’s Eve that Mr Malkin’s festive plans were “neighbourly”.
“He literally didn’t interact with the local community,” he said.
“It’ll scare the horses for sure. People are very nervous and stay around to take care of their animals – not just horses, but cats and dogs and other livestock as well.”
Mr Malkin has not apologized for proceeding with the fireworks or publicly acknowledged the fire.
Neighbor Johnny Quinn created a petition to try and stop the CEO’s plans. He said the billionaire’s insistence on setting off pyrotechnics at his retreat conveys a “fuck you” attitude towards residents
Dalefield, near Queenstown, New Zealand, is a lush, rural retreat that has attracted a handful of billionaires in recent years
The billionaire’s property manager and spokeswoman, Donna Stewart-Freemantle, did not comment on the blaze but thanked firefighters and police for their efforts to contain the blaze and evacuate guests.
Daily Mail Australia has reached out to the Empire State Realty Trust for comment.
Mr Malkin’s office did not initially respond to requests for comment.
Dalefield has become a mecca for foreign billionaires, including PayPal co-founders Peter Thiel, William Foley and Google co-founders Larry Page, who have bought properties in the area.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11590623/Tony-Malkin-starts-bushfire-near-Queenstown-New-Zealand-New-Years-Eve-fireworks.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Tony Malkin ignites a bushfire near Queenstown, New Zealand, with a New Year’s Eve fireworks display