Monday, 31 December 2007

The $500,000 New Year's Award

Multi-millionaire expat New Zealander Owen Glenn has been made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year's Honours list. (The "pretend" awards New Zealand gives out, since they dumped knighthoods, damehoods, and other such titles of distinction.)

UK-born Glenn was honoured for his "services to business and the community". In 2005 he donated $7.5 million towards the new business school at Auckland University. However, Glenn is more well known as the Labour Party's biggest backer (half a million dollars prior to the last election).

Mr Glenn's place of residence is listed as "Monaco" on the official New Year's Honours roll. He made his fortune through founding the freight company OTS Logistics Group, which now operates around the world.

During Select Committee deliberations on the Electoral Finance Act, Labour introduced late changes to allow Mr Glenn to continue making political donations as an "ex-pat New Zealander".

News reports note he hasn't actually lived in New Zealand since 1996. Other "foreigners" are now officially banned from supporting political parties in New Zealand.

* NZ Herald: New Year award for Labour's big donor

* 3/1 - UPDATE: NZOM Recipient Owen Glenn has been upgraded to an expatriate "billionaire" in today's NZ Herald... It must have been a good year ;-)

* NZ Herald: Billionaire 'unlikely to give money to Labour'

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