Beware the cru$ader


domestic-violence-400x258There is no doubt that New Zealand has a serious domestic violence problem, with statistics showing we’re one of the worst countries in the world in terms of its prevalence and severity. Therefore it is important to have leaders willing to front up and tackle the issues head on. Despite the pressing need, we unfortunately have a dearth of leadership in this area, with most politicians unwilling to do the hard yards required to initiate positive change.

That’s why it was heartening to hear about a wealthy businessman starting an inquiry into this terrible plague on our nation. Not only was this businessman going to provide substantial funding to allow a comprehensive inquiry, he also nominated himself to become a White Ribbon ambassador, a position the New Zealand Order of Merit recipient was likely to attain.

Sadly it has all now turned to custard, with the inquiry faltering under false pretenses, allegations and revelations Owen Glenn hasn’t a credible bone in his entire body.

This week it was revealed the so-called philanthropist was charged for physically abusing a young woman in 2002, a charge he didn’t contest apparently because of prohibitive court costs. Considering he’s worth an estimated $900 million this excuse seems highly suspect. The charge was later dismissed for reasons that haven’t been divulged but it’s not inconceivable that the multi-millionaire was able to use his substantial wealth to help clear things up.

Perhaps it was out of a sense of shame the anti-violence inquiry was started in the first place. By seeking to promote anti-violence perhaps Glenn was trying to absolve himself for the 2002 incident. Or did he have higher public office aspirations that require a track record of “good works”? Whatever his true motivation and in light of information about his recent past, Owen Glenn promoting himself as some sort of anti-violence crusader should be questioned.

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Unfortunately Glenn has likely done more harm to the anti-violence campaign than good, with his ulterior motives causing half the inquiries 38-strong advisory panel to resign. He has undoubtedly wasted a lot of important people’s precious time and energy that could have been better spent elsewhere.

How much damage has been caused cannot be easily quantified, but really the writing was already on the wall. At the beginning of the year it was revealed the Glenn Family Foundation had decided not to make good on the founders promise to donate $80 million to various projects based in Otara. The excuse being the overseas trustees believed it was no longer appropriate to donate to New Zealand causes. This also resulted in a number of high-profile resignations from the Auckland-based organisation.

It’s not the first time Owen Glenn has reneged on a deal either. In 2011, he promised to donate at least $100 million to the government for education purposes but only if National and Act won the next election. Along with it being illegal to try and buy people’s votes, Glenn hasn’t stumped up with the cash. Of course the Police decided not to pursue any charges, even though the law had clearly been broken. I guess there are certain perks to being a member of the old boys club.

Despite these cases, the hypocrite still feels the need to be in the media spotlight talking about integrity and honesty, words that obviously have little meaning to Owen Glenn. He’s apparently far more concerned with promoting himself than actually helping struggling Kiwis break the cycle of abuse…he’s far more concerned with getting his name in lights than holding to his promises.