Today’s further revelations about Labour’s expat billionaire major funder, Owen Glenn, raise more questions than they answer. Let’s take them in three areas:
Owen Glenn says he made the loan (said by Mike Williams to be $100,000) after the election. Williams says it was not made until 2007, and that it has already been repaid. It is confirmed that this is an interest-free loan, and the value of the foregone interest has to be included as a donation.
Now recall Mike Williams on the 2nd of January said “Mr Glenn had not made any donations to Labour since 2005”. No he had not made a donation, just an interest free loan which qualifies as a donation under the law passed by Labour. I quote s21(2) of the Electoral Finance Act 2007:
party donation means a donation (whether of money or of the equivalent of money or of goods or services or of a combination of those things) that is made to a party … and includes … where credit is provided to a party on terms and conditions substantially more favourable than the commercial terms and conditions prevailing at the time for the same or similar credit, the value to the party of those more favourable terms and conditions
So the Labour Party President was being deliberately misleading, at best, when he made that statement. The interest free loan is defined by his own party’s law as a donation.
Now also recall that Owen Glenn got a gong in the Honours list at the end of 2007, just a few weeks after Labour had voted to change the then Electoral Finance Bill to allow Glenn to keep donating. Now we also know that he was not just a past donor to Labour, but at the very time when they were voting to give him an honour, they were the secret recipients of an interest free loan.
Now this doesn’t mean that Glenn got his gong for his $500,000 donation and $100,000 loan to Labour. But it does mean it was highly unethical for Labour to give him a honour without revealing the interest free loan he had made to them.
Helen Clark is reported in the NZ Herald as saying “it never happened” in respect to Owen Glenn’s claim Clark offered him the role of Minister of Transport.
But note in Fran O’Sullivan’s column that Clark is refusing to talk to the media directly on this, and “it never happened” is attributed to the spokesperson not the PM. There is quite possibly a reason Clark herself doesn’t want to directly say those words which may just mean she never formally offered him the job – which s a truism – you can not offer a non MP a Ministerial role. What Clark has not denied is that they had a discussion along the lines of what Owen Glenn claims.
Now Glenn is either telling the truth, is a liar, or is mistaken. But as Fran notes he offered a massive amount of detail to merely be mistaken:
But Glenn’s recollection of the conversation was sufficiently full that he could relate to reporter Kim Ruscoe just where the conversation took place (Kawau Island after the Millennium Cup Super Yacht regatta). He also recollected his reasons why he wouldn’t want the job (assets like the railways were sold … Qantas was closing in on Air NZ … what would he do?) and her rejoinder (these things might not have happened if we had people like you).
There has been no suggestion from Glenn that the Dominion Post story is incorrect, in him attributing the motivation for his $500,000 donation to the Exclusive Brethren campaign which happened 10 months after his donation. I never seriously thought it was incorrect, but as it was so damaging to his credibility wanted to leave that option open.
Is Mr Glenn just a seriously confused person, or is Labour’s major donor a liar? And if his claimed rationale for donating to Labour is totally false (as it clearly is), then what was his rationale? Is it just the previous one of admiring Helen, or something else?
The Taxes and The Girls
Not really relevant to the main points of this post, but can’t help but notice Cactus Kate has a fascinating post on Mr Glenn, the pinup donor boy for Labour whom she met in 2002. Some extracts:
Glenn at the time I was certain wasn’t resident anywhere for tax purposes, let alone a tax haven like Monaco, slumming it on his rather nice yacht with different women at every port. While I find this a totally suitable and ethical outcome of cleverly utilising the tax rules of the world, Labour are of course a party who hates “rich pricks” who “dodge tax”.
Glenn is the ultimate personification of it. I would be PROUD to have him as a client. He has paid less tax in New Zealand than ANY, I repeat ANY member of the Business Roundtable. Even the ones now based overseas who were vilified for upping sticks.
I had noted he is officially resident in Monaco. Kate carries on:
He was right wing enough to despite all the tittie on offer in the bar with less than 100 IQ points, spend the best part of all night speaking with me. He did not seem to like the “sisterhood”, unless they were hot and invited him to watch. He bemoaned the lefties in New Zealand and their sexual habits. One of his harem came over and “twirled” for me, his “Personal Assistant”(I kid you not) who bore a striking resemblance to Miss Stacey from WWF/WWE wrestling. She was the LEAST attractive of the obviously imported harem.
There may be more to Mr Glenn than meets the eye!