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McCully, the National Party donation and the Niue resort

Written By: - Date published: 10:05 am, April 18th, 2016 - 57 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, business, national, national/act government, same old national, uncategorized - Tags:

Murray McCully and owl

There is absolutely no story here and nothing to see.  And no link whatsoever between donations of $101,000 to the National Party and the subsequent awarding of a contract to manage a luxury resort in Niue to the donor’s company.  Nothing at all.

From Radio New Zealand:

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully is adamant there is no link between a New Zealand businessman’s donation to the National Party and his company winning a contract to manage a resort in Niue.

A New Zealand businessman made the large donation two years ago then won a contract to manage a luxury resort in Niue which is heavily funded by the government.

Mr McCully said there was no link between the two events, nor the $7.5 million in aid funding to expand the resort a year later.

In October 2014, New Zealand’s Scenic Hotel Group announced it had “secured” the Matavai Resort in Niue.

The Niue Tourism Property Trust, whose trustees are appointed by Mr McCully, carried out what the minister said was a fully commercial process to find a company to run the resort.

That contract was won by the Scenic Hotel Group.

The month before, Earl Hagaman, that company’s founder, donated $101,000 to the National Party, making him National’s biggest living financial donor in 2014.

And McCully is not a control freak who is all over every decision that his department makes.

Hagaman made two donations in 2014 totalling $101,000 to the National Party.  The return for that year shows a number of split donations from different donors mostly made closely together.  It would be interesting to discover why.

The timing is very unfortunate and heightens what is a clearly misplaced cynicism in the bona fides of the appointment.  The donations were made on September 18, 2014 and the announcement that the Scenic Hotel Group was taking over was made a month later.

The shareholding and ownership of Scenic Hotel Group look interesting.  The head shareholder of the company if you follow the chain of ownership through is a New Zealand company Gilbraltar Trust Limited.  Gilbraltar has a low corporate tax regime.

McCully is no doubt nervously awaiting the outcome of the Auditor General’s investigation into the Saudi Sheep Farm deal.  The AG should also investigate the circumstances of the awarding of the contract to manage the resort.  Just to make sure that everything is above board.  Which I am sure it is.


57 comments on “McCully, the National Party donation and the Niue resort ”

  1. Ffloyd 1

    Lol. Oink. Oink, flaps wings. Beware of low flying porkers from MiniMac.

  2. Sabine 2

    What did the poor owl do to be put next to McCully. Owls are good birds that have an important factor in nature, this however can not be said of McCully.

  3. Lucy 3

    Was wondering why RNZ is the only organisation running with this story!

    • TC 3.1

      Yup their msm shills will be instructed to pass on this as they have stopped on sheepgate, that flag failure etc etc

  4. NZJester 4

    The month before, Earl Hagaman, that company’s founder, donated $101,000 to the National Party, making him National’s biggest living financial donor in 2014.

    Maybe just the biggest known living financial donor in 2014.
    How many others have better hidden their donations through Cabinet Club in the past?
    With no way for anyone but those in the National Party to know they could have also funneled more through Cabinet Club themselves meaning the $101,000 is only the visible tip of the iceberg.
    The National Party has such a large amount of anonymous donations compared to all the other parties combined.
    There is no way a lot of those so called anonymous dinner donations combined have not gone well over the amount that should have meant the donors name was declared!

    • Keith 4.1

      Are these donors lining up because they know that their money buys them things when they shop at the National Party store?

    • Matthew Hooton 4.2

      Cabinet Club donations are typically $1000 a year for four lunches. It was never a means to get large donations. Just an efficient way for a local MP to pick up an easy $20,000 from 20 friends and supporters.

      • Stuart Munro 4.2.1

        We have only your word for that Matthew – they don’t publish their accounts. They behave as if they have in fact been suborned from public service to the service of commercial entities and well-heeled speculators.

  5. Keith 5

    I have next to no faith in the AG so I expect there will be nothing to see there.

    Nationals murky labyrinth of donations and the way they are laundered is a serious concern for any nation wanting to control corruption.

    A fish rots from the head down and this fish is starting to smell real bad!

  6. Macro 6

    no link whatsoever between donations of $101,000 to the National Party and the subsequent awarding of a contract to manage a luxury resort in Niue to the donor’s company.

    Of course there isn’t – how would Murray know that those donations had been made? Goodness me! He probably hasn’t even spoken to the man except on business, and maybe once or twice at a social function. And the fact that he gets to use the executive suite when visiting Niue has nothing to do with it whatsoever either.
    Now I’m off to buy a big bridge over the Auckland harbour that I hear is up for sale.

    • NZJester 6.1

      If you want that bridge you will need to attend a few Cabinet Club dinners first and make a few small anonymous donations (Wink Wink) to the party first.

      • Macro 6.1.1

        Good point! And I have a spare flag I can fly on it left over from the last dinner with Maggie and co. I was thinking of using it to polish the Rolls.

  7. Anno1701 7

    ” Mossack Fonseca made another significant move in 1994.

    It helped the tiny nation of Niue – a South Pacific coral outcrop with a population of fewer than 2,000 – craft legislation that provided for incorporation of offshore companies. The law firm had picked Niue, Mossack later told Agence France-Presse, because it wanted a location in an Asia-Pacific time zone and because it would face no competitors: “If we had a jurisdiction that was small, and we had it from the beginning, we could offer people a stable environment, a stable price.”


    wonder what ELSE has been going on in sunny little Niue ..

    • greywarshark 7.1

      What else is there to do but sit over one’s laptop with a little drinky in your lap as well. And probably watch racehorses from the stable island or island stable race round the island for diversionary bets from the visiting hedonistic or perhaps frenetic financial dealers. But the islanders might feel safer because being stable, the financiers will cluster tight together as a barrier to rising Pacific waters as the climate change they try to avoid inexorably catches up with them.

      Right at this moment though, someone is scouting a high Tibetan monastery for suitable ethnic but luxury renovations to be ready in about 8 years for the shift from Niue.

  8. Jsmith 8

    Gibraltar may have a low corporate tax rate – how is that relevant when the article and link state it’s a New Zealand registered company and thus subject to tax at NZ rates?

    • mickysavage 8.1

      I have no idea about the company’s tax status or affairs. I was interested in the choice of name and I wondered if this depicted something.

  9. Mrs Brillo 9

    I’m getting nostalgic for Winebox Winnie.

    Will no media outlet pick this up and run with it?

    • greywarshark 9.1

      Is this the Olympics? The rich and powerful don’t run, they employ someone to do that for them. And their henchmen in the media are not employed to do anything so lowly, except when it has social standing and provides a photo=op.

  10. saveNZ 11

    They need to put 2 and 2 together, the Saudi bribes with tax payer money, the National party donations co incidentally (ha ha) a month before a big contract for a Niue resort.

    Gosh so much corporate welfare to these corporations or individuals and seems to be reciprocated with bribes (I mean donations) to the National party. I guess they forgot to launder that one.

    No wonder we can’t afford to run the hospitals in NZ and need to cut funding for gifted children – there are important Saudi businessmen who are deemed more in need as are Niue hotel chains.

  11. ianmac 12

    When McCulley became Foreign Minister I seem to remember that he made a uni-lateral decision to cancel the $2-3 million that had been used to improve the Welfare in the Pacific Islands. Instead he said something like he would use the money to develop specific projects. So has he used that money to favour the luxury resort on Niue?

    • Macro 12.1

      But think of all the “employment” – waiters, maids, cooks, and cleaners – what an amazing investment!
      And the good thing is – Murray and his mates can all go and have a nice time.

  12. Michael 13

    Good old McCully – he really is the best advertisement for the Labour Party that it’s got at the moment. Even if Labour has no idea what it stands for (apart from self-interest by individual caucus members) and has no intention of changing the status quo if it ever takes office again, it can never be as blatantly corrupt and cynical as any government that retains McCully as one of its senior members. Whether 50.1 percent of New Zealand voters think that’s enough to put the B-team into bat for a bit remains to be seen.

    • Sabine 13.1

      hmmmm, an honest “B” team or a corrupt as “A” Team. How long would you think the “A” Grading of your corrupt as team would hold once you remove the corruption, bribes and ‘donations”.

      Yes, give me a honest “B” team anytime. At least I don’t have to hang my head in shame everytime someone mentions NZ, Government, clean and Green in one sentence.

  13. Jester 14

    The suggestion in this post appears to be that McCully instructed the Trust members to award the Contract to Scenic Hotel Group.

    Surely the Trust members would be above that type of abuse of position.

    • International Rescue 14.1

      I don’t think Mickey’s out of line raising the question though. On the other hand, Andrew Little’s rantings are hilarious given this http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/77406691/Andrew-Little-dines-with-drug-company-executives-months-before-adopting-Keytruda-stance.

      • mickysavage 14.1.1

        You are joking?

        • adam


          Nope he gone for the lie pipe again. Once had morals, now a complete right wing nut job.

          Part of the lie harder brigade when ever there is even a whiff of controversy, deflect, misdirect and lie hard. Straight from the PR spin hand book.

          Look on the bright side, at least more people get to learn what it looks like.

        • International Rescue

          No. Little is hypocrisy +, and the public can see right through him.

      • Jester 14.1.2

        I’m not so sure Rescue.

        While it may be attractive and somewhat fair to have a crack at McCully, what Andrew has done again is just about call the Trustees appointed by McCully and who made the decision on the tender corrupt.

        He’s making a habit of Inferring non political individuals are dodgy. That’s dangerous territory.

        • Herb

          Isn’t Jacinda Aderns father one of the “dodgy” Trustees.

          • lprent

            Please be aware that I detest astroturfing trolls. If I see too much of it, people get a completely arbitrary and vindictive educational ban.

            This is a site for expressing personal opinions. If you just want to wank idiotic graffiti, then I suggest you turn to somewhere else that tolerates the stupid. Whaleoil perhaps.

            This is your and Jesters warnings.

            Moved to OpenMike

  14. upnorth 15

    seriously folks – all the polls have said the same please stop focussing on the gutter

    give us policy and direction mr little

    this is embarrassing and nothing learnt – you are 7% for a reason

    nz is regarded as one of the least corrupt – this is a very seriously long bow.

    mr little you are more in danger of being 4% than 10%

    • ropata 15.1

      RWNJ can’t handle criticism of his teflon hero PinoKeyo

    • Stuart Munro 15.2

      All your polls are bullshit.

      Key is a traitor and an asset thief whose government can’t even balance a budget, let alone build houses or rebuild Christchurch. Removing this corrupt fuckwit from power is a matter of urgency, and accurately detailing his innumerable lies and failures is the job of the opposition.

      The public need to know.

      You need to know, because if you knew you could not support him either.

  15. Ian 16

    Having stayed at the Matavai in June 2014 Having Hagamans company running the place will be a godsend for Nuie and it’s tourism. The smell of Gunga was pretty high at times,service was a disgrace. Hopefully scenic circle can get it operating as a proper hotel.
    Whoever advises little is away with the fairies .

    • pat 16.1

      considering McCully’s previous and the timing the question has to be asked…..

    • Graeme 16.2

      It’s probably more likely Hagaman is doing McCully a favour in sorting the thing out, it’s got a pretty chequered history.

      The one to keep an eye on is how much public money goes into safeguarding / relocating his property in Franz Josef after the flood last month.

    • Hanswurst 16.3

      Assuming your stated opinion of the place is honest, surely you would contend that any outfit with even the vaguest idea of hospitality (or just a bit of business sense) would have been a “godsend” for the place. It’s very basic reasoning to see that your argument, with its strong wafts of racism and cultural cringe, has nothing to do with why *this* particular outfit got the gig. :sigh:, there once was a time when RWNJS on this site could make an argument without somehow contriving to trip over their own small swinging dicks at every turn.

  16. ropata 17

    Labour has produced a nice graphic of the sorry tale

    NZ businessman donates to National. A month later his company wins contract to run a luxury resort in Niue. Fishy? pic.twitter.com/XdEd3S66sR— New Zealand Labour (@nzlabour) April 18, 2016

  17. Keith 18

    I note the Herald has been almost silent on this latest $100k “donation”. Bit like the $100k donation from the mystery Chinese donors “to change the flag” nod, nod, wink, wink. Is $100,000 the opening bid nowadays to access the National Partys world of favours and influence?

    • ropata 18.1

      the nact party newsletter Herald has declared the deal “squeaky clean” and buried it somewhere on page 5

      • Rolfcopter 18.1.1

        Yeah, happened at the same time it was revealed that one of the Trustees is Jacinda Ardern’s father…

    • Anne 18.2

      Keith @ 18
      Remember the daily howls of horror over those non-existent donations and other supposedly dodgy deals Labour was accused of… by the Herald in 2014? Better known as the Donghua Liu Affair. It was crap. No donations existed. The Herald never apologised.

  18. Hennie van der Merwe 19

    Who are the trustees?
    I have found two nl Graeme John Horsley and Denis McNamara.
    Can someone shine the light on them?

  19. Mark 20

    I am all for an Auditor General investigation to put this to bed.

    But think about what is required for there to be corruption.

    Three trustees, voting unanimously to make the decision as is required under trust law:
    – One the father of a Labour MP
    – One a career public servant and diplomat; and
    – One an ex National MP, businessman and ex local body mayor

    Would have had to have been motivated enough by the National Party receiving $101,000 to risk their careers and reputations to award Scenic Circle the concession when it was not warranted??

    Does not look plausible on any level. Perhaps one could argue the ex National MP might have been inclined to do a favour for a friend of a friend, but the father of a Labour MP, and the public servant???

    Does not seem plausible.

  20. Mark 21

    I don’t really understand this attack by Andrew Little. No doubt someone who is closer to Labour’s internal working can decipher it, but for me it reeks of Labour internal politics.

    Think about it, for their to be corruption then:
    – The Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and
    – Jacinta Arden’s dad
    Would have had to have acted inappropriately. The probability of this being the case is very low.

    So why if you are planning on being the next Prime Minister do you call into question the integrity of one of your senior public officials and a family member of one of your senior MPs?

    I am wondering if this is Shearer holding a fish part 2.

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