Observers at the Committee were unanimous that Brian Henry performed very well. They also signalled out Russel Norman for praise, saying he asked the key question on the Clarkson costs. And despite what some feared, National MPs were not shy in putting questions to Peters and Henry – especially Brownlee and Mapp. Labour MPs I am told either said nothing or asked patsy questions.
A few more thoughts:
- It would be an incredibly bad look for Owen Glenn to refuse to take part by video-conference, considering he was honoured by the NZ Government, has a business school building named after him, and is so attached to NZ he wants to be our Consul to Monaco. Any refusal to testify will imply cover-up and guilt by Glenn – even if he has done nothing wrong himself (which I think is the case).
- There is little doubt Henry paying a $40,000 debt to Bob Clarkson on behalf of Winston Peters is payment of a debt which should have been disclosed. Ignorance of your own chequebook is no defence.
- Other payments by Henry on behalf of Peters may count as a gift or payment of a debt? It is one thing not to charge for your time, but who paid the court filing fees in the defamation case? These fees can come to many thousands of dollars.
- Could Brian Henry have paid off the $40,000 debt to Bob Clarkson without Owen Glenn’s donation? It is one thing not to charge for your time, but quite another to pay actual costs. If the Glenn donation preceded the payment to Clarkson (and I understand it did) then Glenn is still the person who effectively paid off that bill. Not necessarily from a legal aspect, but in a practical sense. If someone gives me $100,000 and I use $40,000 of it to pay off my mate’s debt, then that debt relief came about because of the donation.
- Does Henry paying the $40,000 debt to Clarkson constitute a gift to Peters on which gift duty should be paid?