Multi-millionaire Owen Glenn hints at Beehive bid

By Chloe Johnson

Owen Glenn. Photo / Dean Purcell
Owen Glenn. Photo / Dean Purcell

Multi-millionaire Owen Glenn has hinted his political aspirations toward becoming an independent MP are very much alive.

In a speech at the BNZ Business Conference this week, Glenn, 72, said he would consider a move into politics if a coalition between National or Labour with NZ First was on the cards for the next election.

"Where will that leave us as a country?" Glenn said. "Maybe someone else has to run on the basis of the current MMP rules ... Why not me?"

Glenn refused to be interviewed on the possibility of a political career yesterday.

However, a spokeswoman said Glenn had believed the speech was subject to Chatham House rules, meaning it would not be reported.

She said there was no announcement pending and Glenn was most passionate right now about completing his child abuse inquiry.

Labour MP Shane Jones said if Glenn entered politics, there could be a repeat of the 1984 election when tycoon Sir Bob Jones put an end to the Robert Muldoon government.

"The reality is we cannot stay on our current social or economic trajectory that John Key has us on," Jones said.

"It is crazy because at the moment there are three rich people: Owen Glenn chancing his arm; a fat rich ugly guy who is humiliating the country called Dotcom; and a rich guy running, and unfortunately, ruining the country, who is the PM. Who knows what will happen with [Glenn's] wealth?"

He said Glenn had "put his money where his mouth is" with recent projects including an $8 million injection into helping the South Auckland suburb of Otara, and funding an independent inquiry into child abuse and poverty.

Entrepreneur Tenby Powell, who attended the business conference, said everyone in the room applauded Glenn: "He thinks we should all be standing up and saying what is on our mind as opposed to kow-towing to some of the institutions and bureaucracies and the people who are adding no value.

"He said we could do things differently and that he has some ideas and maybe he should take them forward as an independent candidate."

University of Auckland professor of politics Barry Gustafson said he was doubtful Glenn could win a seat as an independent MP. "I would be surprised if he could do it because in many ways he has baggage coming in from supporting Labour and NZ First and the hoo-ha over that."

If successful, however, Glenn would be the first person in about 80 years to enter politics as an independent MP.

- Herald on Sunday

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