The Auditor General has found there was nothing unusual about the selection of Scenic Hotel Group as the operator of a Niue tourism resort at the centre of a political row over a six figure donation to National.
Auditor General Lyn Provost said from the available information her office had found there was a standard procurement process with reasoned and documented analysis for the selection of Scenic Hotel Group to operate the resort, and for the subsequent investment of New Zealand international development assistance funds in expanding the resort.
The contract was referred to Provost by Labour leader Andrew Little after he questioned the company’s links to National.
Scenic Hotel Group founder Earl Hagaman, and wife Lani, made a donation to the National Party during the 2014 election of $101,000. Scenic Hotel Group. A month later the company won a tender to manage the Matavai resort in Niue, which receives funding from the New Zealand Government.
Little is now being sued for defamation by the Hagaman’s after refusing to apologise and retract a statement that the deal “stunk to high heaven”.
Little was fine in asking the AG to investigate. But rather than wait for the outcome of that, he jumped to a conclusion and stated the deal “stunk to high heaven”.
The defamation case will be interesting, although possible slightly less so than the Colin Craig one currently on!