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Current as of 02/10/14 07:40PM NZST

'Horrible' Michael Laws painting sells for $705

By Jimmy Ellingham

The 'horrible' painting.
The 'horrible' painting.

A "horrible painting" of controversial former broadcaster and politician Michael Laws has sold for more than $700 on online auction site Trade Me.

Hamilton freelance writer and artist Joshua Drummond said he listed his artwork with a $1 reserve and would have been happy with that, but when the virtual hammer came down last night a Wellington buyer had forked out $705.

Mr Drummond drew the image in 2012 for a charity auction for Hamilton access radio station Free FM, but it wasn't sold.

He chose Mr Laws as his subject because the theme for the auction was free speech, which had both a good and a bad side the down side being some of Mr Laws' views getting public play, Mr Drummond said.

For a while it hung on his office wall until he moved it home, in case it was putting off his clients.

"My fiancee took one look at it, saying 'we're not going to put that up', so I didn't."

Mr Drummond's listing said he nearly sold it to a "drunk Irishman" for $50 one night, but the boozed buyer had no cash on him and didn't return calls the next day. It also said he feared the image could be haunted, but urged buyers not to let that worry them.

Eventually Mr Drummond decided to put it on Trade Me, where the "horrible painting" attracted more than 70,000 page view and dozens of questions from Trade Me users.

"I'm pleased but I'm very surprised at the level of interest. Probably there's a small cottage industry to be made in horrible paintings of politicians.

"I think I'll have a crack at a John Key. I don't expect lightning to strike twice but I'll give it a try."

Justice minister Judith Collins could also find her way on to a canvas.

Meanwhile, Mr Drummond will put the money from his Laws creation toward his wedding.

"It should buy the best part of a good wedding cake."

Mr Drummond held no personal animosity toward Mr Laws but said he wasn't his "biggest fan".

Mr Laws declined to comment.

- APNZ

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