July 15, 2013
Sir Owen deserves our support
Opinion: I like Sir Owen Glenn, he owns half of the Warriors and is definitely not in it for the money.
He knows no-one in New Zealand has got rich off owning a sports franchise but the return for Sir Owen comes from helping communities support their heroes and seeing Kiwi sports fans who take pride and joy watching their favourite sports team compete in a tough competition.
Then of course there is the Owen Glenn Building at Auckland University.
In 2002, he donated $7.5 million to develop the Business School's premises and facilities.
That single act of generosity is still believed to be the largest private donation in New Zealand educational history.
Sure it could have been driven by his ego but I believe it's also driven by Sir Owen's sense of payback.
He believes in the business school's mission and also acknowledges he was given opportunities at the expense of the New Zealand taxpayer when he went to school in Auckland.
And considering he wasn't even born here, New Zealand should be basking in the glory of having such a generous benefactor.
We have many wealthy people in New Zealand but there's not a lot who have dug that deep into their pockets like Sir Owen.
There's also the hockey and other sports he backs.
But to me what stands out is when the Christchurch quakes hit he donated $1 million immediately.
A drop in the bucket for him yes, but still the fact that he did it says more about the man than the money.
But now because of a scandal, where Sir Owen is accused of physically abusing his assistant 11 years ago, his very worthwhile Glenn inquiry into child abuse and domestic violence is in danger of falling apart.
This is because the people he appointed to head the inquiry feel Sir Owens behaviour was inappropriate and have withdrawn their support.
He was arrested in Hawaii but in the United States police arrest first then start investigating a complaint later.
That's how they do it and anyone can be locked up on the word of another.
Sir Owen pleaded no contest and said that a lengthy court process, court costs and advice from his US lawyer would drag out. I believe him because as a businessman, his time is money.
Who knows if he is innocent or guilty but he hasn't been convicted of anything and now wants to make a major contribution to this child abuse and violence problem that is a blight on our society.
We should take any opportunity to turn around the disgraceful statistics in this area and Sir Owen deserves huge support – not condemnation – from people who really should know better.
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