Audrey Young says the focus next week will be on Clark more than Peters due to the death of his mother. She is amazingly restrained in her story considering Winston Peters defamed her (he called her a liar) and tried to destroy her journalistic career:
Prime Minister Helen Clark is likely to feel the brunt of Opposition heat over the New Zealand First donation issue when Parliament resumes in three days.
It is apparent that she did not exert herself too much to get to the bottom of contradictions between what Winston Peters and Owen Glenn said – except to get an assurance from Peters that his party did not receive a donation.
We now know on the record that Glenn made what is effectuvely a personal secret donation to Clark’s Foreign Minister. He covered $100,000 of Winston’s legal expenses for him. And then proceeded to get lobbied by the man who is also Labour’s biggest donor to get himself appointed Consul. At the same time Mike Williams lobbied Helen Clark on the same issue, and the Government seemingly abandoned their previous position that there was no need for a Consul in Monaco.
Clark will no doubt be asked how having Ministers in her Government received secret $100,000 donations fits in with her claims of seeking transparency through the Electoral Finance Act. And even though this secret donation happened before the EFA was passed, it would have been able to remain legally secret even if made under the EFA.
Other questions to Clark may be around the Ministerial declaration of interests. Is it policy of her Government that Ministers do not have to delcare personal secret donations of $100,000 so long as their lawyer doesn’t tell them about the donations?
It is also interesting that those champions of electoral transparency, the Green Party MPs, have so far not said even one word on this issue. Could you imagine the legions of trees which would have been destroyed by now if this had happened in a National-led Government?