Every columnist is talking Peters, so I’ll take them all together. First of all Bill Ralston:
Meanwhile, that same morning, Winston was somewhere in Auckland in his ministerial limousine going stratospheric. For a man who has spent weeks dodging questions from the “meerkat” media he did something extraordinary. He rang Radio New Zealand and thundered he would convince Clark to keep him and “she will know these allegations are vile, malevolent, evil and wrong”.
This is again hypocrisy of the highest degree. When National was investigated by the SFO in 2002, for a cheque which passed through a trust account, Peters got up in Parliament and alleged a former Party President had stolen money from the party, and took a “cut” to bail out his company. Now that is a vile, malevolent, evil allegation if I have heard one.So naturally Trevor Mallard also jumped on the bandwagon and repeated it. There was no one at all in the media or public suggesting such a thing – the possibility was invented by Peters and Mallard.
While all Peters has to do at this stage is explain why donations intended for his party are not recorded as having reached it. The $25,000 donation from Bob Jones should have been declared either under his own name, or under the name of the Spencer Trust.
So far the participants he has identified in this “vile conspiracy” against him include me, the NZ Herald, the Dominion Post, TVNZ, TV3, Radio NZ, the Radio Network, the SFO, Act, National, and big business (except for those big businessmen who have funded him).
Hey don’t forget us bloggers. I want to be part of the conspiracy! Is there a joining fee?
Deborah Coddington has a novel definition of the moral high ground:
The Minister of Foreign Affairs could easily have sashayed offshore to some vitally important meeting, and left the Prime Minister to stave off the attacks.
Which she does admirably, I must say, shrugging away the poke, poke, poke from John Key, claiming the moral high ground by conceding a conflict of evidence given to the Privileges Committee by Owen Glenn and Peters.
So admitting that she knew for six months Peters was lying, and admitting it just before Owen Glenn is about to reveal you knew, is claiming the moral high ground? Well I choose the moral low ground then.
Coddington also suggests a deal with Labout to give Rimutaka to NZ First:
But they’ve overlooked a new development. Ron Mark is standing in Rimutaka, Paul Swain’s old electorate.
After Winston, Mark is NZ First’s best-known MP, and has a large following. He’s NZ First through and through – tough on crime, anti-foreign investment, against sale of state assets, working-class hero, bad boy made good. He’s also a bloody nice guy and with a careful campaign, and has a good chance of taking that seat.
Was this pre-arranged all along? It’s just too cute for Labour to stand a young unknown with no prospect of winning in such a safe Labour seat.
I am not sure Labour regard a member of Clark’s personal staff as a no hoper with no chance of winning. And I am also unsure how calling someone a paedophile under parliamentary privilege sits with being a bloody nice guy.
In all cases, Peters has held up his hands and protested, like Sergeant Schultz, that he knows nothing. Bob Jones said Winston asked for some dosh at a party; Winston says that’s not what he remembers.
Owen Glenn says Winston rang him and asked him for a donation towards his fighting fund; Winston says that is not his recollection. At all times, Winston plays the victim card.
Actually Peters is now more like Colonel Klink with Helen Clark better suited for the role of “I know nothing” Schulz, as it turns out she knew all along.
I used to think the world of Winston, but it’s been a long time since I found him principled or amusing. His posturing that New Zealand First is the only party not to sully its hands with trust funds and big money donations can be seen for what it is – bullshit.
And yet it was all so unnecessary. If Peters had been honest and upfront from day one, who would have cared?
Since 1996, NZ First has declared almost no major donors. Doing so would harm their PR crafted image of being anti big business, when the truth is they were majorly funded by big business.
Finally we have the Herald on Sunday editorial:
Regardless of the outcome of the SFO investigation, Peters will remain a man in a political mire of his own creation. The allegations in Parliament by Act leader Rodney Hide that NZ First was paid by Simunovich Fisheries in return for Peters’ backing off claims that the allocation of scampi quota was corrupt have been around for so long that a high-level independent inquiry is called for. But on the matter of the donation by expatriate billionaire Owen Glenn, which is still being investigated by Parliament’s Privileges Committee, Peters continues to be evasive and pedantic. Glenn may have shown himself to be unreliable as to the details of times and places but he did give $100,000 and described it in an email as given “to NZ First”. If Peters did not know that on the day that the email first surfaced, he should have taken steps to discover and divulge all the facts immediately. Instead, he said everyone else was mistaken or a liar.
The HoS overlooks the fact that at a minimum Peters knew Glenn thought he had donated back in February 2008, when Clark told him so.
National leader John Key, plainly sensing that public patience is exhausted, made a bold move this week in saying that Peters would not be a cabinet minister in a National-led Government – by extension ruling out NZ First as a coalition partner.
This is less a challenge to Peters than it is to Prime Minister Helen Clark who, whatever she might say about the need to be fair, has known about the Glenn allegation for six months. In giving Peters enough rope to hang himself, she may have put herself in the noose as well.
This week, the suggestion emerged that Ron Mark may stand as NZ First’s candidate in Rimutaka. A victory there could get the party two, or even three MPs – one of them the leader. Were Labour to connive at that, urging tactical voting to allow a NZ First victory in the hope of getting the numbers to form a coalition, Clark would confirm the suspicion she is now quite properly under: that she will turn a blind eye to Peters’ shenanigans to hold on to power.
The Rimutaka candidate, Chris Hipkins, works for Clark. Is it possible Clark will instruct him to endorse Ron Mark if they get desperate to ensure Winston’s survival?
She must match Key’s boldness by cutting Peters adrift and naming the election day. A campaign that consigns NZ First and its leader to the pages of history will allow the country to focus on important issues.
More importantly, it will treat Peters’ childish attention-seeking with the derision it deserves.
That would be nice. More likely is Clark will put Peters back into his portfolios as soon as she can.