Inquiry into Niue Hotel management contract

In April Andrew Little asked the Auditor General to investigate the awarding of a management contract for a Niue hotel. Little had suggested something could be amiss (the term he used was “stinks to high heaven”) as a National party donor, Earl Hagaman, owned the company that won the contract.

Labour leader Andrew Little said the close timing of the donation to the awarding of the contract “stinks to high heaven” and he had asked the Auditor-General to investigate whether it was above board.

“New Zealand money, which was earmarked as aid for the island nation, has instead been given to upgrade a resort run by a National party donor.”

He said it was Mr McCully’s personal appointees on the trust which awarded the contract. “We must have questions answered on how the tender process worked, who knew about links between donations and the tenderer and whether Niuean people will ultimately benefit from the resort’s funding. The perception of propriety is key.”

The Auditor General published their report today via a letter to Little , saying that they found nothing of concern. This could be a bit awkward for Little as Hagaman is taking defamation action against him. An apology and settlement on the cards?


Dear Mr Little

REQUEST TO INQUIRE INTO THE AWARDING OF A MANAGEMENT CONTRACT FOR A NIUE HOTEL

This letter responds to your request of 18 April 2016 for my Office to look into various matters about the awarding of a management contract for the hotel on Niue. The information you subsequently provided to my Office on 27 July and 2 September has been considered as part of preparing this response.

There is one hotel on Niue. It was formerly owned by Matavai Resort Limited. It is now owned by Matavai Niue Limited, operated by Scenic Hotel Group, and called the Scenic Matavai Resort. In this letter, we use the term “the resort” to refer to the hotel on Niue.

1. Your request

The specific issues you raised were:

  1. whether the tender for a hotel operation to brand and operate the resort followed due process and whether all potential and actual conflicts of interest were declared;
  2. who knew about links between political donations and the tenderer, and what influence, if any, the donations may have had on the tendering decisions;
  3. why the resort was prioritised for $7.5 million of development funding and whether that funding fitted within the funding criteria;
  4. how the $7.5 million funding will be spent and where most of the benefits will accrue; and
  5. to what extent the Niuean people will ultimately benefit from this funding.

After a lot of detail:

In conclusion

We have found, from the available information, that there was a standard procurement process, with reasoned and documented analysis for the selection of Scenic Hotel Group as the hotel operator for the resort and for the subsequent investment of New Zealand international development assistance funds in expanding the resort.

Because of the level of interest in the issues that you raised, we have decided to publish this letter on the Office of the Auditor-General’s website so that the information is also available to the public and Parliament.

Yours sincerely,

Lyn Provost
Controller and Auditor-General

AG letter link: Response to request for inquiry into awarding a management contract for a hotel in Niue


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14 Comments

  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  7th September 2016

    Whoops. Oh dear. What a mistake-a to make-a. I mean in making the hoohah BEFORE the investigation.

    If he had been genuinely concerned that this was dishonest-and really, it was done so openly that it was highly unlikely-he could have gone quietly to the investigators and raised it. Then, if it was a rort, he could have had a field day and rightly so, even if the motive was National-bashing and not exposing wrong for wrong’s sake. If not, as is the case, he wouldn’t have looked like an eejit for squawking that this was a racket when it’s been proved not to be.

    Reply
  2. Nice. Very Nice. i expect Mr Little will be very, very nervous now.

    Not only did the comments cast suspicion on the Hagamans and their company, but also on the government officials and agencies involved in the tender process.

    Too late for a just a “withdraw and apologise” now methinks. Cold hard cash plus a very piblic backdown and apology seem now in order….

    Reply
    • Damn it… PUBLIC not piblic…

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  7th September 2016

        It could have been worse. Our local council had a notice for a public health meeting, and one letter had been missed out. Guess which one. Yes, it was that. It gave a few people a good laugh.

        Reply
  3. PDB

     /  7th September 2016

    Jacinda will be relieved her dad isn’t a crook like Mr Little insinuated……….Andrew’s foot, meet Andrew’s mouth.

    Reply
    • patupaiarehe

       /  7th September 2016

      Andrew’s foot, meet Andrew’s mouth

      No need for introductions Pants. They meet pretty regularly…

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  7th September 2016

        Don’t tell anyone, but they’ve been together for ages as a couple.

        Reply
        • PDB

           /  7th September 2016

          I think his mouth has been two-timing as his other foot is a regular visitor as well………

          Reply
  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  7th September 2016

    Little caught with his pants down and nary a rug in sight. Winston with egg all over his cheque. Hague being replaced by another loony Lefty. Craig exposed as the religious hypocrite he is.

    What’s not to like? JK grinning all the way to the election.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  7th September 2016

      That nude artwork (if it is one) with him in the nuddy may be prophetic Caught with his pants down, indeed. The Labour Leader’s New Clothes.

      To accuse the father of one of his own MPs-and such a well-known one-of such a thing without evidence is a very bad look indeed.

      Apologies are too late, I suspect. Too little, too late.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  7th September 2016

        Too Little, too late. Sounds like his epitaph.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  7th September 2016

          Too mouthy, too quickly, too often, with too little, too silly, too bad, toodle- loo, would maybe be a better one.

          Once it was known Jacinda’s dad was a party to the deal, and that the Hagamans had filed for defamation, the sickly smell of death was unmistakeable on this allegation.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  7th September 2016

            Try getting that lot on a gravestone with a chisel, Gezza. It’s too much, not too Little.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  7th September 2016

              At least it would require a sizeable headstone Al.

              But maybe you’re right. Some might think perhaps that might be better at the end of the eulogy – but I couldn’t possibly comment on that.

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