John Armstrong gives an excellent commentary on the hearing:
Winston Peters is teetering on the brink. His three long decades in politics are just one short meeting of Parliament’s privileges committee away from ending in abject disgrace and utter humiliation.
Peters will never admit he has done anything wrong though. He was defiant in the House yesterday.
Glenn has stuck to his story throughout. He has now backed it up with copies of relevant emails and phone logs. He has been up front. He has volunteered information. To put no finer point on it, his account rings true.
In contrast, Mr Peters has offered denials which have been found wanting. Accepting his story has required suspending disbelief. His story has kept changing.
Yet Helen has persisted in her innocent explanation belief.
That Glenn’s version of what happened is convincing could be ascertained by the rather desultory efforts by Labour MPs on the committee to help Peters by trying to pick holes in it.
That reached a low when Russell Fairbrother, a vastly experienced barrister prior to becoming an MP, suggested to Glenn that he could have been talking to Wayne Peters, the NZ First leader’s brother, when he rang Peters’ cellphone.
It was a moment of farce during testimony which has pushed Peters deeper into political strife – if that is possible.
I think I would have actually laughed out loud if it were not for the fact that the Privileges Committee can send people to jail!
If he cannot provide believable explanations to counter what seems to be irrefutable evidence that he in fact solicited the donation from Glenn, then he should resign his current status as a minister without portfolio and his party should think seriously about whether he is fit to stand for Parliament again.
It won’t. There is no NZ First without Peters.
To some degree that is a pity. There is room on the political spectrum for a centrist socially conservative party. NZ First without Peters is a party once could actually work with constructively. If they sacked Peters. But as Armstrong says, that is almost impossible to concieve.Tags: John Armstrong, Owen Glenn, Privileges Committee, Russell Fairbrother, Winston First