Cash for Honours

The NZ Herald reports on the awarding on a gong (ONZM) to Owen Glenn which makes you wonder if NZ Labour have not just copied the pledge card off UK Labour, they have also now resorted to cash for honours, despite the fact their sister party in the UK is in deep trouble for the same thing.

Now Owen Glenn was born in the UK, spent his childhood here and has not lived in NZ since 1966. His company does not pay tax in NZ (in fact it pays little tax full stop). He has given at least $500,000 to Labour – their biggest donor by a magnitude.

And one also has to look at what Labour have just done with the Electoral Finance Act, specifically Section 32(1). They had a proposed clause which would ban donations from anyone not living in NZ who is not on the NZ electoral roll. And as detailed in Parliament (and here also), Labour suddenly realised this would stop Owen Glenn from continuing to donate and they quickly recessed the Committee to “consult” and after the break then change the clause so expats such as Owen Glenn can still donate unlimited amounts even though he is ineligible to enrol or vote, not having lived here since 1966.

Now Owen Glenn has been a generous donor to Auckland University. He has donated $8 million, and funded 10% of their new business school building, which they named after him.

So since leaving here in 1996, he has done two significant things.  Donate 10% of the cost of a business school to Auckland University and pay for over 25% of Labour’s 2005 campaign. I somehow doubt the weighting given by the Cabinet Honours Committee for those two donations were in that order 100%/0%.

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