Little given a week to apologise or face Hagaman music

'We get up every day and go to work and take risks, often putting much of what we have on the line to try and make things a success'

Scenic Hotel Group owners and NBR Rich Lister Earl and Lani Hagaman are challenging Labour Party leader Andrew Little to retract and apologise to allegations against them by 5pm on May 20 or face a lawsuit.

Mr Little has linked the awarding of the management contract for the Matavai Resort Niue to donations the Hagamans gave to the National party during the tender process.

The Hagamans claim the allegations made by Mr Little on April 18 are defamatory.

They sought advice from their solicitor Simon Johnston, who has notified Mr Little that defamation proceedings will ensue “unless the position can be properly retrieved."

Scenic Hotel does not own the Scenic Matavai Resort Niue but has the contract to manage it.

Unsolicited donation
Lani Hagaman says she and Earl want a full retraction and apology “because no one should be verbally attacked and denigrated because they believe in democracy and the right to make their own unsolicited political choice on who they want to give a donation to.

“The decision to make the donation was completely unsolicited and was Earl’s personal decision and nothing to do with the Scenic Hotel business,” she says in a statement.

“Earl has given the past 36 years of his life to New Zealand and helped build our tourism industry, including in the provinces, to the successful level it is today. He has done his best to share his success either through employment, construction, development or charitable donations.

“Neither Earl nor I come from power or privilege. We’ve strived to put most of the money we’ve earned from our hotels back into creating the largest New Zealand-owned and operated chain of hotels.

“Earl helped put our country on the global map as far as offering new and largely unexplored destinations to stay.

“We get up every day and go to work and take risks, often putting much of what we have on the line to try to make things a success.

“Part of the Scenic story is that we have given others a livelihood and provided support to regional economies where other big hotel chains won’t invest.”

Ms Hagaman says Mr Little holds a position of power and privilege.

Follow NBR on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram for the latest news and free on-demand audio from NBR Radio.

Login in or Register to view & post comments