The gallery seem united in their view that Helen Clark will suspend or stand down Winston Peters today. She would be silly not to. In fact the SFO investigation has been fortunate timing for her – it lessened some of the focus on her personal lnowledge of the Owen Glenn donation.
The Serious Fraud Office probe into New Zealand First’s finances announced late yesterday makes Winston Peters’ suspension as a minister unavoidable.
Claire Trevett reports that most of the party leaders are calling for Peters to be stood down.
Facing mounting pressure to deal with Peters to stop his multiplying crises tainting Labour by association, Helen Clark now has the perfect excuse to stand him down from his ministerial portfolios without his having any valid reason to complain.
Phone calls between the Clark and Peters camps late yesterday ahead of a meeting today point to mounting pressure on Miss Clark to stand her foreign affairs minister down.
NZ First insiders insisted yesterday there was no prospect of him standing aside voluntarily.
His position appears virtually untenable after the SFO yesterday started an investigation into claims that donations allegedly solicited by Peters from Sir Robert Jones and Vela family interests did not reach New Zealand First.
I expect it will be announced before midday.