You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Key not fazed about donation row

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/04/2016

Prime Minister John Key has brushed aside the row over a $100,000 donation to the National Party by a businessman whose company was a month later awarded a government contract.

He told reporters in China he hadn't followed it closely and wasn't worried in the slightest.

"People make political donations and that's well and truly disclosed," he said.

Earl Hagaman, chairman of Scenic Hotels, made the donation in 2014 a month before his company was awarded a contract to run Niue's Matavai luxury resort.

The resort is heavily funded by New Zealand government aid and is owned by a trust on behalf of Niue's government.

The trust members are appointed by Foreign Minister Murray McCully, who has strongly denied any link between the donation and the contract.

Labour leader Andrew Little says it looks suspicious and he's asked Auditor-General Lyn Provost to investigate the tender process.

Mr Hagaman and his wife Lani have said they would welcome an investigation "in order to remove any doubt about the integrity and honesty of our name".

They say they're considering their legal options to counter "unfounded accusations" about the award of the contract.

Mr Little says he stands by his comments.

"All I'm doing is seeking an assurance for the public of New Zealand that there was nothing untoward in this affair," he told RNZ.

Ms Provost hasn't yet decided whether to investigate the award of the contract.

The company has denied there was any conflict of interest and says Mr Hagaman didn't know it was tendering for the contract.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon