NZ driving me out, says Owen Glenn

By Steve Deane

Sir Owen Glenn has become so disillusioned with New Zealand he plans to close his foundation and concentrate his charitable efforts overseas.

Sir Owen's Glenn Family Foundation pledged $8 million to a number of South Auckland charities in 2012, but many never received the promised money. Photo / Dean Purcell
Sir Owen's Glenn Family Foundation pledged $8 million to a number of South Auckland charities in 2012, but many never received the promised money. Photo / Dean Purcell

Sir Owen Glenn has become so disillusioned with New Zealand he plans to close his foundation and concentrate his charitable efforts overseas.

The millionaire philanthropist says he has effectively been driven out of New Zealand, possibly by people with political interests.

Sir Owen also cited a media obsessed with unearthing scandal as a factor in his decision to quit the country.

"I've literally been driven out of New Zealand mentally. I've closed down my foundation there."

He believes he is the victim of the tall poppy syndrome.

"Why? I'm not hurting anybody. I'm doing the opposite. I've given more money away in New Zealand than anybody else ever as a philanthropist. Will somebody please tell [people] that?

"How many good Kiwis live overseas because they don't get a square deal Downunder?"

Sir Owen said he would finish his inquiry into domestic abuse as it was important to "keep faith with the victims".

That inquiry foundered when revelations surfaced that Sir Owen had been accused of assaulting a woman in Hawaii in 2002. He pleaded no contest to the charges at the time and later described the incident as attempted extortion.

The revelations prompted many of the senior figures involved in the inquiry to quit and Sir Owen withdrew an application to become a White Ribbon anti-domestic violence campaigner.

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Sir Owen's Glenn Family Foundation pledged $8 million to a number of South Auckland charities in 2012, but many never received the promised money.

Many of the organisations received a letter just before last Christmas saying Sir Owen wanted to focus his attention on the Glenn Inquiry into child abuse and domestic violence and that funding would cease.

Previous charitable donations by Sir Owen include $7.5 million in 2002 for the development of a business school at Auckland University and $1 million to the Christchurch earthquake fund.

The Weekend Herald revealed he and former friend and business partner Eric Watson were locked in an international legal battle over a joint investment.

- NZ Herald

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