Waikato-Tainui, the indigenous persons who occupy the Waikato region, seem to have learned something from the Labour Party.
The something they seem to have learned is the art of challenging – if not overthrowing – the leadership.
Alf learns this today from the local rag in that neck of the woods.
Attempts are being made to unseat the boss of Waikato’s economic powerhouse Tainui Group Holdings, in a document questioning his leadership appearing ahead of a crucial meeting this weekend.
But chief executive Mike Pohio’s supporters say it’s a smear campaign ahead of a big request for funds from the tribe to finance the company’s ambitious growth plans.
Nobody seems to be willing to put their hands up and identify themselves as being part of the overthrow plot.
But money lies at the root of whatever is going on.
More particularly, somebody (or somebodies) wants to get a firmer grip on the tribe’s treasure chest or have a bigger say in how it is spent.
The document, from unnamed parties, obtained by the Waikato Times paints a picture of alleged shareholders’ frustrations over a lack control over the tribe’s commercial activities.
The document, which has circulated among Waikato-Tainui tribal members, who are all shareholders of the company, calls for the “termination of Mike Pohio as CEO of TGH”.
A substantial trough of lolly is involved.
Tainui Group Holdings, or TGH, is the commercial development arm of Waikato-Tainui which developed The Base and reported assets recently worth more than $1 billion.
The company is the largest landlord in Waikato.
But there are concerns other than control of the purse strings.
The document also cited what it called concerns about the operating environment of TGH.
Concerns over transparency were raised, with the document claiming “no robust engagement with wider iwi regarding the possible sale of key assets such as the Hamilton Hotels and The Base”.
Te Kauhanganui, or the tribal parliament, will meet tomorrow.
Pohio is expected to turn up and ask for $110 million from the tribe for an investment by TGH.
He is curiously disinclined to defend himself against the charges in the document.
In fact, he professes to be unaware of the claims.
Pohio said he was unaware of the claims and would not be making any comment about them.
But his chairman had seen the documents a few weeks ago.
TGH board chairman Henry van der Hayden said he had seen the document and the claims were unsubstantiated.
“These documents were landed with me, I don’t know, about three to four weeks ago.
“Of course any board would take anything like that seriously,” he said.
He was unsure who the documents came from because they were unsigned.
“There are a group of tribal members who actually do want to remain anonymous, that are circulating some of this stuff. Some of it’s quite old stuff, too.”
“It just goes on and on, so I’m calling it rumours and unsubstantiated.”
This raises a good question: how close is the relationship between chairman and CEO?
Van der Hayden went on to say the board has full confidence in the chief executive and senior management team and the support is unanimous.
He also said TGH’s annual result spoke for itself and the attack was linked to TGH’s request for funds.
But Alf is bemused by the suggestion that the chairman saw the documents up to a month ago while the CEO was left in the dark.
Furthermore he suggests Tainui take a butchers at the recent general election result to see what happens when one bit of an outfit is pulling against another.
Local MP Nanaia Mahuta should be able to put them in the picture.