I am totally unsurprised by the outcome of the Serious Fraud Office inquiries into the Spencer Trust. And the outcome is in no way a clearance or an exoneration. What it says is laws have been broken, but not fraud laws.
NZ First’s failure to obey the electoral laws of New Zealand is what made the investigation occur. Because the public facts were that Bob Jones had stated he had made a $25,000 donation intended for NZ First, through the Spencer Trust, and the NZ First Party had filed a donations return saying it had not received any donations in 2005 of over $10,000. To quote the SFO:
There were two competing explanations for how this could be.
- The Spencer Trust never passed the money onto NZ First, which would be possibly fraudalant
- The Spencer Trust did pass the money onto NZ First, and NZ First filed a false electoral donations return
No 2 was always far more likely. And thanks to the SFO investigation we now know this is true. In fact we know that NZ First has filed a series of false returns, as has Winston Peters personally, and Peters has lied on multiple occassions about these returns, including giving false information to the Privileges Committee.
This is no case of an accidential omission on a return, due to Mrs Muggins the branch secretary. This was a strategy signed off by the Leader. Let us look at the multiple false returns and statements:
- A false donations return for 2005
- A false election expenses return for 2005
- A false donations return for 2007
- A false return on the Register of Pecuniary Interests for 2006 (Payment of debt to Bob Clarkson for Peters)
- A false return on the Register of Pecuniary Interest for 2006 (Payment of debt to David Carter for Peters)
Now these are not just mistakes or errors. Only because of the SFO investigation has this come to light. And it gets even worse. Most semi-honest people would, once they had been caught out, would at least reveal all. But no Peters does not.
He was instructed by the House of Representatives to file amended pecuniary interest returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007. And all he did was amend them to include the two donations that had already been publicly forced out (Owen Glenn and Spencer Trust for Clarkson) but he didn’t declare the $13,640.37 the Spencer Trust paid on his benhalf to David Carter in 2006. These are the actions (assuming Weekend Herald is correct) of a pathological liar, not a cleared man.
And on that issue, it sounds like Eye to Eye at 11.30 am on Sunday will be interesting watching as Matthew Hooton is on the panel with Peters as the guest. Quoting Roar Prawn:
TVNZ sources say that Willie Jackson’s Eye to Eye tomorrow will be one of the most fiery TV debating shows ever seen in New Zealand.
Winston fronted up to the Green Room, last night to tape the show that airs on 11.30 on Sunday on TVNZ, thinking he would be up for a cosy chat with his mates Barry Soper and Chris Trotter.
He was high on hearing that the SFO had dropped criminal charges, but he was less than impressed when he realised that Jackson had decided to replace Trotter with Matthew Hooton.
Hooton won’t talk about the encounter but BustedBlonde’s media sources say that Winston tried to bluff his way out of appearing with Hooton, . saying there was no way he was going to be with someone who called him a liar.
Before they even got on air, we understand Hooton then called him a liar, a crook and a lying c***t straight to his face.
Anyway, things didn’t get much better on air, and the air was so blue Jackson had to stop the pair at one stage and re- record the show.
Our sources say that Winston always wins these debates on points but Hooton had him on the ropes more than once refusing to kowtow to the liar (our words)
Our sources say it was one of the most brutal encounters they had ever witnessed on NZ television.
That is very typical of the mischievous Willie Jackson – invite Peters on and then have Hooton on also. Can’t wait to see it.