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What was the private meeting about?

Bill English MP
National Party Deputy Leader

22 February 2008

What was the private meeting about?

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English is calling on the Prime Minister to reveal what was discussed in the private meeting with Labour’s largest donor.

“Was it the Monaco diplomatic post? Was it the Cabinet post? Or was it fundraising?”

Mr English is commenting after Helen Clark declined a hongi with Owen Glenn and refused to be seen getting too close to him at last night’s opening of the Auckland University business school, followed by reports of a private meeting.

“We know that Helen Clark has also had private conversations with Labour Party President Mike Williams this week, including one where he tendered his resignation. What else was discussed? Did the Monaco position come up again? Was the Cabinet post discussed, or perhaps donations?”

Mr English says Mr Williams needs to get his story straight, having this morning offered another excuse for misleading comments at the time Mr Glenn was awarded a New Year’s honour.

“Today Mr Williams was saying he was distracted at New Year by his grandchildren which is why he offered up the wrong answer. But as recently as this week, he stood by his claim that a loan is not a donation ‘and shouldn’t be’.

“Helen Clark should also explain why she took no interest in the commentary around Owen Glenn’s award and failed to correct Mr Williams’ comments much earlier.

“No one believes that this week was the first time she saw Mr Williams’ misleading comment and that they hadn’t spoken about it. She should have corrected him far earlier. Andrew Little confirmed this morning the Labour Council knew about the loan – why didn’t anyone correct Mr Williams?”

Mr English says there are also unanswered questions about what part Mike Williams played in the Sovereign Yachts fiasco following cryptic comments from Owen Glenn in a 2005 interview.

Mr Glenn was quoted as saying Sovereign’s boss, Bill Lloyd, was ‘badly’ treated, but that ‘I got it resolved’ and that it was sorted out ‘through the good services of Mike Williams the Labour Party president who did a mammoth job’.


“Given that Sovereign Yachts received significant taxpayer support, what was the ‘mammoth job’ and what did Mr Glenn mean when he said he got it resolved with Mr Williams’ help?

“The whole saga continues to look very murky indeed.”

--

“Um, on December the 30th I was asked ah by a reporter had Owen Glenn made a donation to the party since the election ah to which, to which [sic] in the context of my grandchildren rioting around me I answered no.” – Mike Williams Newstalk ZB 22 February.

‘It never entered my head to treat it as a donation and it shouldn't be treated as a donation’ – Mike Williams RadioLive 18 February.

“In terms of the New Zealand council, the party we promote is fully aware that ah this loan had been made, that the loan was made in order to ah fund, fundraisers which ah happened at the time of the, ah, meeting the pay back arrangements over the pledge card and what have you.” – Andrew Little RNZ 22 February

Unlimited Article March 2005 - 1 page

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