Lorraine Skiffington’s $750,000 fee expectation puts an alluring glister on the consultancy business

Alf is seriously considering a change of occupation.

He is keeping his considerations very private, of course, because support for a politician is apt to erode if constituents get the idea he might be thinking of a career change to make more money.

Those constituents would be tempted to view such ambitions as avaricious, greedy and grasping.

But Alf happens to be mindful that a bloke of his maturing years should be salting away a few bucks for his retirement.

So where can a bloke get plenty of bucks for salting away in his retirement?

In the consultancy business.

Alf is full of admiration for the operations of consultants such as Lorraine Skippington.

He is even more admiring of the fees she can command, although – fair to say – he is reliant for information about these fees on a report (here) at Stuff.

If the Stuff reporters have it correct, then the fees are steep enough to sort out the capital’s big spenders from people with pots of money but an undue caution about how they spend it.

Sir Peter Jackson may well come into this category.

This caution seems to explain why he backed off plans to build a film museum.

According to the Stuff report, months before the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust gained the right to buy a former air force base on the Miramar Peninsula from the Crown, Jackson had been writing to Sir Ngatata.

He outlined a plan to create a permanent home for his vast array of Lord of the Rings props.

But as things transpired –

Peter Jackson’s plans to build a world-class film museum in Shelly Bay were scuppered when Sir Ngatata Love’s partner sought $750,000 in consultancy fees to help secure the land.

That’s $750,000 plus GST and – we are told – included $250,000 up front.

The “lover partner” referred to here is the aforementioned Lorraine Skiffington.

So what services would you get for that sort of dosh?

In return, Ms Skiffington, a lawyer, undertook to conduct work including securing the acquisition of the land, and composing a master plan and publicity plan.

Under the proposal, Jackson and partner Fran Walsh would pay Ms Skiffington $250,000 on execution of the agreement. Further funds would be paid on monthly invoices following receipt of tax invoices.

Services were to be capped to a maximum of $750,000, plus GST.

But it seems Jackson doesn’t have quite as much money as you might think, or (an alternative scenario) he is very careful about what he does with his lolly.

And so –

A source close to Jackson called the consultancy proposal “a serious turnoff” for the director.

Jackson and Walsh were shown the consultancy deal draft but refused to sign.

The Shelly Bay museum plan finished up on the cutting room floor.

Matt Dravitzki, general manager of Jackson’s Wingnut Films, is quoted on the matter.

“We chose not to sign when presented with the proposed services agreement from Lorraine Skiffington,” he told The Dominion Post. “The museum project is not on our agenda.”

This bit of the news item – about Skiffington failing to clinch her deal – has given cause for Alf to pause.

He needs to know if Jackson has been a skinflint and a tightwad, refusing to pay a very reasonable fee of the sort that Skiffington can collect without demur from lots of other clients.

If that be so, becoming a consultant looks like a goer.

But if nobody is prepared to pay fees of that magnitude, maybe consultancy is not as attractive as Alf first thought.

In that case, of course, he will stay on as the long-serving, hard-working member for Eketahuna North.

And his constituents need never know of how he was tempted to turn to another career.

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