Monday, April 18, 2016

McCully doesn't change his spots

Oh dear - Murray McCully is mired in another corruption scandal:

Earl Hagaman, the founder of Scenic Hotel Group, gave $101,000 to the National Party in September 2014. In October, Scenic Hotel Group announced it had the contract for the Matavai Resort on Niue - a contract awarded by a trust which was appointed by Foreign Minister Murray McCully to oversee the resort.

Mr McCully told RNZ National that there was no link between the donation and the contract and he had not been involved in awarding the contract. That was decided by the Niue Tourism Property Trust after running an international and competitive process. Mr McCully appoints the trustees for that but said he was not involved in the decision. "I can tell you that I had no involvement in the appointment process, conducted purely by the trustees and commercial management they appointed.

No link? Yeah, right. From another Minister, it might be believable that this was all some dreadful, terrible-looking coincidence. But from Murray McCully, a determined micromanager with a history of dodgy dealings and outright corruption, its simply not. The Auditor-General needs to investigate, and if there's even a hint that McCully had anything to do with it, the contract must be voided and prosecutions brought. We can not allow Australian-style corruption and kickbacks to take root in our government.

As for Hagaman, he shouldn't have donated. You can do business with the government, or you can donate to political parties, but you simply cannot do both - at least not if you want to avoid any perception of corruption. By donating when an important decision was being made, Hagaman has irrevocably tainted it in the public eye. And he really has no-one to blame for that but himself.