Tamsyn Parker

Money Editor for NZ Herald

Glenn urges NZ to invest in local talent

Owen Glenn says Chinese investors are welcome to buy New Zealand farms as long as we can buy theirs. Photo / Dean Purcell
Owen Glenn says Chinese investors are welcome to buy New Zealand farms as long as we can buy theirs. Photo / Dean Purcell

New Zealand should stop paying lip service to innovation and ideas and invest more in supporting its bright minds and local businesses, says wealthy businessman Owen Glenn.

Glenn, whose book Making a Difference has been published, has plenty to say on the direction of New Zealand even though he still spends much of his time travelling outside of it.

The multi-millionaire, who sold his global logistics business OTS Logistics Group for just under $500 million this year, believes there should be much more accountability for Government spending, particularly when it comes to investing in local enterprises.

"The country's direction could be guided a lot better in terms of developing enterprise.

"The country's brightest minds end up going overseas. The Government spends money but I'm not sure if it is very well monitored."

Glenn believes there needs to be an external audit of government expenditure similar to the American system.

"There is wastage and lack of accountability."

Glenn says he doesn't mind if talented New Zealanders go overseas but believes they should be supported by other Kiwis in those markets.

He also believes New Zealand's farming community should be offered online access to investment opportunities in emerging Kiwi businesses.

"Farming communities are blossoming, we should give them the right to look up on the internet and let Mr and Mrs Farmer in the Waikato look at opportunities."

Glenn said New Zealanders should be investing in New Zealanders.

But he is not opposed to foreign investment.

"I don't mind the Chinese buying our farms as long as we can buy theirs. It has to be quid pro quo."

Glenn said New Zealand needed to stand up for itself when it came to free trade and not let itself be bullied.

Since cashing up his business he has used some of the money to invest in property, mainly in England, some energy exploration in the United States and buying sovereign debt in Europe.

He has also expanded his equine investments, buying into a syndicate of 19 horses with Irish stud farmers Coolmore and this year revealed a 50:50 joint investment in the Warriors with Eric Watson.

Glenn said the book was a chance to talk about his philanthropy.

He has given away $35 million to good causes and yesterday announced plans to immediately give another $8 million towards helping solve New Zealand's child abuse problems.

- NZ Herald

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