Business Insider: Sean Plunket’s next move, Westpac CEO’s charity ride

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Plunket resurfaces

Word on the street is that controversial broadcaster Sean Plunket has lined up a new gig.

Sources told the Herald he has signed an agreement to work with philanthropic businessman Sir Owen Glenn on a yet unannounced project.

It’s understood the project could involve a new media outlet.

Asked about whether he would be working with Glenn, Plunket said he preferred not to comment on speculation but he did offer a cryptic hint that something was brewing.

“Watch this space,” he said, “help is on the way.”

The well-travelled broadcaster recently departed Magic Talk after racist comments made by stand-in broadcaster John Banks.

This led to fresh scrutiny being placed on comments previously made by Plunket on his show.

In December last year, the Broadcasting Standards Authority rebuked MediaWorks after a May 6 Plunket interview with Te Whānau ā Apanui spokesman Louis Rapihana on Covid-19 checkpoints.

The BSA said the interview amplified negative stereotypes about Māori and had the potential to cause widespread harm.

Glenn’s team would not comment on the matter or Plunket’s involvement in any projects.

It’s also speculated that Plunket may play a role in furthering Glenn’s long-running feud with embattled businessman Eric Watson.

Watson recently completed a stint at London’s Pentonville Prison after being found in contempt during a trial related to his long-running legal disputes with Glenn.

Watson has, however, been on the charm offensive recently, conducting his first major interview with New Zealand media in more than eight years. He used that interview as an opportunity to pre-publicise a book on his life and times, with the working title “From Penthouse to Pentonville”.

On your bike

Westpac New Zealand chief executive David McLean is taking to the roads on a Vespa next month, all for a good cause.

The banking boss will join a group of 14 middle-aged scooter enthusiasts in Motorally 2021 riding the length of New Zealand in a bid to raise $100,000 for the Mental Health Foundation.

In an email sent out to garner donations for the event McLean said the 3000km trek from Cape Reinga to Bluff would be challenging.

“I am under no misapprehension that this will be challenging, and that it will be (quite literally) a pain in the butt. It will however be a great adventure and a wonderful way of seeing, through goggles, the best of our beautiful country.”

McLean has already raised more than $14,000 out of his $20,000 personal goal.

But given McLean had a pay package worth $1.9 million in the bank’s 2020 financial year the Business Insider can’t help wondering if it would not have been easier (on the backside) to have simply donated a sum of money to the foundation.

Still, it’s for a good cause, and a good excuse to escape the office for eight days.

McLean said in his email that he had learned that everybody had mental health – good, bad or indifferent.

“I also believe that we should all think about, talk about, and work on our mental health no differently than we do with our physical health – but most of us aren’t very good at it.”

Others scooter fans are also invited to join in, and mental health veteran campaigner Sir John Kirwan is set to join the ride from Whangarei to Auckland.

Bank taps former NZX CEO

Former finance minister and National MP Ruth Richardson has quietly exited the board of Bank of China (NZ) having held her seat since its establishment here in 2014.

Richardson ceased as a director on March 11, according to a Companies Office filing, and has been replaced by former NZX chief executive Tim Bennett.

Bank of China saw its net profit increase 392 per cent last year and has been looking to double the size of its mortgage book to around $2 billion.

Bank of China’s clients include COSCO, Bright Dairy, Huawei and Haier Group, which all do business in New Zealand, and counts former National Party minister Chris Tremain as chairman of the local unit.

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