10 Apr 2019

Sir Owen Glenn says PM should fly to Fiji over development stoush

From Checkpoint, 5:18 pm on 10 April 2019

Millionaire businessman and philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn wants Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to visit Fiji after Chinese property developers illegally ruined his land there.

Sir Owen said he was locked out of his land on Malolo Island and waste, including human sewerage, was dumped on it.

"It's part of my land they were desecrating.

"The security would have forced me off my own land."

Watch the full interview with Sir Owen Glenn here:

He complained to the Fijian government and filed an affidavit in court there.

However, after Newsroom journalists were detained in Suva for investigating the case last week, the developers conceded.

He gave $12,000 to the local tribe who ran out of money during the litigation, and said he would pay for the land to be restored if the developers did not stump up as promised.

"Maybe we will ask the New Zealand government to redirect their aid."

He said the environmental damage caused by foreign developers was a problem for the New Zealand government.

"New Zealand has not said anything. Where were they in this stoush?

"Why doesn't our prime minister fly to Fiji? It is closer than Beijing."

Awaiting Eric Watson's payment

Sir Owen said he was still waiting on a $49.4 million payment from his former business partner Eric Watson, who he ensued in a British court for several years.

He took Mr Watson to court over a disputed joint venture that he invested $250m in.            

Sir Owen refused to be drawn on further details of recouping the payment, citing further legal action.

"It is within the courts mandate at the moment to act on compliance orders . . . and [it] needs to follow up with the defendant [Watson].

"He says he has no money."

Hockey NZ handled review 'badly'

Among Sir Owen's philanthropic projects is the funding of the national hockey teams, the men's and women's Black Sticks.

He said he pulled his funding from the women's team after the coach Mark Hager resigned amidst accussations over his conduct and coaching style.

Mr Hager resigned early this year after a summarised report of a review into the team's culture was released.

Sir Owen said the case was handled poorly by the sporting organisation.

"I think Hockey New Zealand still has a lot to answer for.

"The Government should have intervened long before. There is no governance of sport in New Zealand."

Sir Owen had since reinstated his funding for the team.