Hagaman has a clear run to take Andrew Little for everything he’s got

Andrew Little’s stunt to smear the Hagamans and National with the Auditor-General has blown up in his face.

The Auditor General has found there was nothing unusual about the selection of Scenic Hotel Group as the operator of a Niue tourism resort at the centre of a political row over a six figure donation to National.

Auditor General Lyn Provost said from the available information her office had found there was a standard procurement process with reasoned and documented analysis for the selection of Scenic Hotel Group to operate the resort, and for the subsequent investment of New Zealand international development assistance funds in expanding the resort.

The contract was referred to Provost by Labour leader Andrew Little after he questioned the company’s links to National.

Scenic Hotel Group founder Earl Hagaman, and wife Lani, made a donation to the National Party during the 2014 election of $101,000. Scenic Hotel Group. A month later the company won a tender to manage the Matavai resort in Niue, which receives funding from the New Zealand Government.

Little is now being sued for defamation by the Hagaman’s after refusing to apologise and retract a statement that the deal “stunk to high heaven”.  

In a letter published on the website of the Office of the Auditor General on Wednesday, Provost said there was a standard procurement process involving expressions of interest and request for proposal stages with reasoned and documented analysis for the selection of Scenic Hotel Group as the operator for the resort.

The procurement process was administered by Horwath HTL Limited (Horwath HTL), and the selection of Scenic Hotel Group as the operator for the resort was consistent with the advice Horwath HTL provided to hotel owners, Matavai Niue Limited.

“On 28 June 2013, a Ministry email recommended that information already provided to Scenic Hotel Group be made available to other operators in the procurement process to ensure that no company had a significant advantage or disadvantage over others. The available information indicates that a confidential Information Memorandum was provided to three shortlisted hotel operators (including to Scenic Hotel Group on 11 April 2014) after the expression of interest stage of the procurement process. This appears to include detailed actual and budget financial information, other key performance information, and other important information about the resort. We have not seen any evidence about the effect, if any, of those circumstances on the procurement process run by Horwath HTL.

“Scenic Hotel Group was identified as the preferred tenderer from May 2014, after which there was an ongoing negotiation of contractual terms.”

The procurement process required potential hotel operators not to “approach, directly or indirectly lobby or attempt to influence or provide any form of incentive to” any of the parties involved, including the New Zealand and Niue Governments. It also required potential hotel operators to “disclose any real or potential conflicts of interest”.

Provost said “we found no evidence in the available information of conflicts of interest being disclosed during the procurement process”.

The Hagamans now have Andrew Little by the balls.  Sometime next year – election year – the fool is going to be spending 4 weeks in a High Court getting slammed day after day in a defamation trial.

Not only will Labour have no money but neither will Andrew Little. Word is the caucus are all telling him to get stuffed over being taxed to fund his folly.

Buggered if I know why he didn’t back down. He was wrong, he should have apologised especially with Jacinda’s dad involved. Apparently, he (Ardern) is about the straightest, most non-dodgy bloke there is.

 

– Fairfax

  • Keeping Stock

    Little needs to begin today with a fulsome, gracious and unconditional public apology to Earl and Lani Hagaman. Then his lawyers can start talking to the Hagaman’s lawyer about the possibility of settlement.

    Whether this case goes to Court or not now is largely irrelevant. Little made allegations which the Auditor-General has ruled have no basis. The damage to Little’s reputation has been done, and the damage is significant. Politically speaking, he is a dead man walking.

    • Wayne Peter McIndoe

      Agreed this man (Little) is not fit to be a future Prime Minister

      • Rick H

        He is not even fit to be an MP.
        He’s never ever been elected by the public.
        They should’ve let him slip off the bottom rung of their list where he was.

    • Alan Beresford B’Stard

      It’s not like he hasn’t had plenty of opportunities to apologise already, which suggests he isn’t going too. Good, let the trial begin.

  • Dumrse

    Priceless entertainment. Roll on next year, roll over angry Andy. That man qualifies for my TAPS award today.

  • shykiwibloke

    This summary bears no resemblance to NewstalkZB coverage last evening – whereby the news headlines coupled with Soper’s assessment left the impression that there was no ruling becuase it was not permitted under this law, and Angry was not happy that he could not get a ruling and there must be something suspicious about the donation etc etc. No wonder Larry is bald having to work with turkeys like that. I think it’s got to the point where Luvies and lefties have crowded out his show sufficient to cease listening in on my drive home.

    • Second time around

      The AG audits Niue but cannot discuss the findings of that audit with Andrew Little. On the other hand she discussed the tender process and all NZ aspects of Little’s concerns very fully and there are no loose threads. Andy leapt on to a conspiracy theory that had been promoted by RNZ and by commentators like Bryan Gould, but did not have the good sense to get off when it began to look ridiculous.

      • Grizz30

        His biggest mistake is the he listened to Bryan Gould. If I see his name attached to anything I do not even read it.

    • Sally

      If you want to by-pass the media spin, read the letter AG wrote to Little.
      http://www.oag.govt.nz/media/2016/niue-hotel

      • Brent

        That looks expensive in the way of Time spent.

      • Lance Ralph

        I have taken the opportunity to read the letter, thank you for giving the link.
        I am dismayed by the stupidity of some of Mr Little’s questions and his seeming expectation that someone like the Auditor General could or would answer them.
        e.g. “To what extent will the Niuean people benefit?”
        Tip to Andrew Little:- If you want to be of benefit then try and do something useful.

  • Aucky

    Labour is skating on thin ice already. To head into an election campaign where the party’s very survival could be at stake with a leader facing a high profile defamation case verges on suicidal.

  • sheppy

    Don’t apologise Andy, stick to your principles!
    The fallout from this when it goes to trial, even after the MSM show it in the most positive way possible will be epic.

    • Cadwallader

      “These are my principles, but if you don’t like them I can make up some more.” more or less the words of Groucho Marx. I think Angry will be scouting around for some wriggle room but as noted above the caucus isn’t happy.This episode may be just the pivot to cause Angry to be tossed in favour of the Robertson/Adern attempt at leadership? The words of Groucho Marx will apply to those two as well.

  • waldopepper

    the old saying of “make sure brain is engaged before putting mouth into gear” springs to mind. i cant imagine choosing to go through life angry like all these lefties. just astounding. life’s too short.

  • Bob Dazzler

    The Labour loser just shot his mouth off and now is now between a large rock and a very hard place.

  • Seriously?

    I hope the Hagamans don’t settle without a public apology including an acceptance of wrongdoing.

    • ex-JAFA

      I think the media party would ignore it and pretend nothing happened. Getting his just desserts is going to require a multi-week defamation case in court, which they can’t ignore.

  • Herb

    I suspect little Andy is fixated on the last 2 paragraphs as justifying his stupidity:

    The procurement process required potential hotel operators not to “approach, directly or indirectly lobby or attempt to influence or provide any form of incentive to” any of the parties involved, including the New Zealand and Niue Governments. It also required potential hotel operators to “disclose any real or potential conflicts of interest”.

    Provost said “we found no evidence in the available information of conflicts of interest being disclosed during the procurement process”.

    His reasoning will be something like this:

    1 – if no evidence of conflicts of information being disclosed; and
    2 – if hotel operators not to provide any incentive to NZ government; and
    3 – if owners of hotel operator donated to National Party; then
    4 – undeclared conflict of interest exists

    No matter how big the holes in this ‘logic’ – little Andy will only see the inescapable conclusion that he is, as always, right.

  • Kopua Cowboy

    Andrew Little identifies as a truthful, reasonable man. The fact he is a lying, angry prick does not define who he is, because he really really feels he is okay.

  • Wheninrome

    “Everything he’s got” – unless he has a secret Panamanian trust, they won’t get much, in all his years his assets amount to a house and mortgage. He isn’t even a successful trougher.

    • island time

      True! But for the Hagaman’s its about principles not money.

      • Wheninrome

        In which case him have a very long day in court until they get exactly what they deserve a full and unreserved apology .

  • Ben

    If Little has any sense he will be laying in supplies of humble pie and hope that Hagaman is feeling charitable. Does this change the balls up table?

    • venator

      Humble pie might just be too good for him. Even simple savs splattered with blood red curry flavoured tomato sauce would be marginal.

  • andrewo

    It takes a man to front up an apologise…

  • zotaccore

    What happens if Angry Andy issues a public apology? Does that mean the defamation case falls to the wayside or does the litigant have a right to continue to pursue it thru the courts. In the meantime, his caucus continues to support him? And if so, how many do?

52%