And then, we have the saga of the political donation and the Matavai resort on Niue. The facts can be simply stated. The owner of Scenic Hotels, Earl Hagaman – a well-known and perennial donor to the National party – made a donation of over $100,000 to the National party, and a month later his company was awarded the valuable contract to manage a resort on Niue.
The contract turned out to be even more valuable than had appeared at first sight when $7.5 million of taxpayer-funded aid money was paid to Scenic Hotels to upgrade the resort.
In any other country, and especially in those where such deals are commonplace, no one would be in any doubt as to what had really happened. In New Zealand, however, we are naively inclined to accept the blank-eyed, slack-mouthed assurances that it was all a coincidence and that nothing untoward had happened.
Andrew Little called for the Auditor General to look in to the Nats’ process in awarding the contract, saying the deal “stinks to high heaven”. Yesterday – Hagamans file defamation proceedings against Andrew Little
Labour leader Andrew Little has now been served with defamation proceedings by National Party donors and hoteliers Earl and Lani Hagaman.
On April 18, Labour had called for the Auditor General to look into Scenic Hotels Group’s contract to manage the Matavai resort and questioned the timing of the donation. At the time, Lani Hagaman strongly denied any link between the two.
“If Mr Little had taken the time to get to know us he would have found out that neither Earl nor I come from power or privilege, nor upbringings that cultivated expectation of favours.”
Not sure that the “just plain folks” card is going to work.
Little’s criticism was directed at the Nats processes in awarding the contract, not the Hagamans. He was doing his job as Leader of the Opposition – Andrew Little refusing to apologise over his comments about a Niue resort deal
Little has written to Hagaman’s lawyers saying he has a “constitutional duty to challenge the actions of the Government over the expenditure of public funds”.
I’m pretty sure this vexatious lawsuit will be laughed out of court. It does keep the Nats’ dodgy deal in the headlines though.
Now that the Hagamans are suing @AndrewLittleMP he can use discovery to force them to disclose all their undeclared political donations
— Idiot/Savant (@norightturnnz) June 15, 2016