Hide: “Niue deal squeaky clean”

Rodney Hide writes in the Herald that Niue deal squeaky clean.

He acknowledges that he has known the Hagamans for two decades.

I should say at the outset that I have known Earl Hagaman and his wife Lani for 20 years, that I greatly admire them for their business success, what they provide New Zealand, their philanthropy and their integrity.

The Electoral Commission shows that Lani Hagaman donated $35,000 to the Act Party in the year leading up to the 2014 election.

Hide points out that the donation to National (as for the ACT donation):

…the Hagaman donation was correctly registered and made public, as the law requires. There was nothing underhand or secret.

And Hide blasts Andrew Little.

Labour Leader Andrew Little this week got the political blunderbuss out and blew off both feet and then his arms. He never grazed his target.

In my view, his was a disgraceful display of nastiness and political incompetence not expected of a rookie opposition MP and gobsmackingly awful for a would-be Prime Minister.

He summarises the Niue deal:

The Government did the resort’s development to boost tourism to Niue, which has doubled. The project is regarded as a success. The development benefits the Niue Government and people, not Scenic Hotel or the Hagamans.

In 2013 Auckland firm Horwath HTL did an independent review for the board and, among other things, recommended the appointment of a hotel management company.

The following year, on behalf of the board, Horwath ran an Expressions of Interest and Request for Proposals process that culminated in the consideration of two proposals with the recommendation of Scenic Hotels. The board agreed.

Hide names the board members: Ian Fitzgerald (chair), Bill Wilkinson, Toke Talagi (Premier of Niue) and John Ingram.

So the Premier of Niue is implicated, along with three others.

The transaction was not just arm’s length, several oceans of separation lay between the political donation and the management contract. There is no evidence of impropriety. The process would appear a model of probity.

Hide thinks Little is not the same model of probity.

Meanwhile, Little has besmirched a successful and highly regarded business couple, a New Zealand business success story, senior government officials, his own MP’s dad, and the Premier of Niue.

Politics can be nasty. It’s often incompetent. Somehow Little has managed to plumb new depths.

Time will tell whether this latest strategy of leading attacks is going to turn around Little’s and Labour’s political fortunes or not.

Will Little score a hit by firing a blunderbuss of nails at the National Government’s coffin hoping one might find a target and stick? Or has he nailed his own?