Having to prove your innocence ruled out

June 18th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Justice Minister Judith Collins has ruled out reversing the burden of proof in domestic violence cases – one of the key recommendations in the first report of the Glenn Inquiry.

It was a suggestion, not a recommendation, but still good to have it ruled out.

Tags: , ,

Williams on Peters

March 10th, 2014 at 7:12 am by David Farrar

Mike Williams wrote yesterday:

Peters was vehemently attacked in the lead-up to the 2008 general election for allegedly accepting a $100,000 contribution from the same Sir Owen two years earlier, then denying it.

Despite a leaked email in which Sir Owen said he’d made a donation to NZ First, when Peters was asked if NZ First had received the money from Sir Owen he held up a sign that read “No”.

He was widely pilloried. NZ First fell short of the 5 per cent threshold by 20,000 votes in the forthcoming general election, disappeared from Parliament and gave John Key’s National Party the election.

As I facilitated the donation in question, I can report – for the first time – that Peters was in fact telling the strict truth.

No he wasn’t. There are two aspects to whether Peters was telling the truth, and Williams focuses on one aspect only – which gives a very misleading impression. I’ll explain.

It was then resolved that a contribution would be made to defray the costs of the court action and a payment was made to the fees account of the lead lawyer, Brian Henry.

The transaction did not involve Peters and no money ever went near him or the NZ First Party. However the privileges committee and media chose to believe the leaked email – and the rest is history.

Peters was asked two things. One was whether Glenn had donated to NZ First and the other was whether he knew in advance about the donation to Brian Henry to cover Peters’ legal fees.

One can argue, like Williams has, that the $100,000 donation was not to NZ First – but to Brian Henry and/or to Peters personally. But that wasn’t the key issue that the Privileges Committee looked into.

Peters claimed that he knew nothing at all about the donation until Henry revealed it. He swore black and blue that he knew nothing at all about it.

The evidence presented to the Privileges Committee (which I attended) was testimony by Glenn and his assistant that it had been discussed. But they had more than their word. The evidence includes

  1. a phone log showing a lengthy call between Glenn and Peters from 1.27 pm to 1.33 pm
  2. a phone log showing Peters called Brian Henry from 1.34 pm to 1.39 pm
  3. a e-mail from Brian Henry at 1.40 pm to Owen Glenn asking for the money, providing a bank account number and referring to his recent discussion with his client

If you believe the two phone calls immediately before the e-mail providing the bank account number for the $100,000 were unrelated, then you are either a member of the Labour Party caucus or I have a bridge for sale!

Also Sue Moroney’s brother testified he heard Peters thank Glenn for the donation.

So let there be no mistake. Peters was not telling the truth. He may have been telling the truth in terms of whether it was a donation to NZ First or not – but there is no way he was telling the truth when he denied knowing anything about the donation. The phone logs and e-mail are a smoking gun.

Tags: , ,

Glenn claims extortion

July 10th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Sir Owen Glenn is adamant his $2 million inquiry into family violence in New Zealand will go ahead, and says accusations that he hit a woman in Hawaii more than a decade ago are completely false. …

He told Campbell Live last night the accusations were fabricated by the American woman, his former personal assistant, to extort money.

He implied she had psychiatric issues and said she re-ignited the claim 10 days ago hoping for another payout.

He continues:

Two Hawaiian policemen knocking on his door at 1.30am said the woman had filed an assault complaint against him and took him into custody. He was released on bail the next day. The woman dropped her claims, and the case never went before a judge, he said.

“There was subsequently no case to answer. If both parties agree there is no case to answer, it’s no contest,” he said.

However, he said she then filed a lawsuit against him for unfair dismissal.

“She was a case of extortion, I said I wouldn’t pay her out. But [the employment mediator] said ‘look, have a small settlement, whatever I can get it down to’ so I agreed to that in the end only because of the length of time and the harassment etcetera, but I only paid that strictly – and it’s in the court papers – for payments of her psychiatric bills.”

The settlement was $80,000 as opposed to the $300,000 she was seeking.

Inevitably, I imagine she will sell her story to a media outlet.

Tags:

Give it up Sir Owen

July 3rd, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Simon Collins at NZ Herald reports:

Members of an expert think-tank set up to guide Sir Owen Glenn’s $2 million inquiry into family violence say the only way for the inquiry to continue now would be for Sir Owen to step out of the process.

At least 14 of the 25 original NZ-based think-tank members have now quit following a report on Sunday that Sir Owen was accused of physically abusing a young woman in Hawaii in 2002.

“It’s made the credibility of anything coming out of the inquiry pretty much irreversible. You can’t get that kind of credibility back,” said veteran anti-violence advocate Kirimatao Paipa. “If he [Sir Owen] takes his name off it and leaves his money … then maybe we can salvage something out of this.”

Sadly I think his good intentions are now doomed. No matter who remains involved, the departure of so many means that whatever report it produces will not be able to build wide-spread support. He runs the risk of spending millions of dollars on a report that will not lead anywhere.

Mind you looking at the views of some of those who have departed the inquiry, I suspect that they were going to conclude that all child abuse is the result of poverty, colonialism, and correctional smacking. I’m not making this up – that is what one of the experts said on the radio. So even without this fiasco, I was sceptical that the inquiry would really confront the difficult issues such as whether abused children should be looked after by the extending family (who may also be dysfuntional) or be placed with total strangers (which is less than ideal). Likewise would it have confronted issues such as how to stop abusive parents having more children? Far too easy to blame it all on poverty.

Anyway the “experts” now seem to be saying that the only way forward is for Sir Owen to hand over great wads of money as a blank cheque to them, but to have no actual role in anyway with the inquiry – and to remove his name from it – plus remove his appointed board.

Gisborne District Councillor Manu Caddie and human rights campaigner Marama Davidson said Sir Owen and the former Supreme Court judge who now chairs the inquiry’s governance board, Bill Wilson, should go.

“If the inquiry has any future, changing the name and board membership is required. Sir Owen and Bill Wilson will need to give up their places on the board …”

I think Sir Owen deserves better than this. There are many other good causes in New Zealand he can support. Those who have left the inquiry will just continue to snipe at it and him from the sidelines.

Tags: ,

Chopping Glenn down

June 30th, 2013 at 9:40 am by David Farrar

Poor Owen Glenn. He made his fortune overseas, and in recent years has spent a significant portion of it trying to improve New Zealand. His biggest desire was to spent $80 million on reducing child abuse. But of course, he must be dragged down because he has not led a life of perfection. The SST reports:

Millionaire businessman Sir Owen Glenn’s inquiry into domestic violence and child abuse is under further pressure with revelations he was accused of physically abusing a young woman in Hawaii in 2002.

Court documents seen by Fairfax Media show Glenn offered a plea of no contest when the case came before the courts in Hawaii in 2003. That plea means the charge was not contested or admitted. Glenn was put on probation, and the charge was dismissed in 2004 when the probationary period ended.

Court documents show Glenn was arrested in a Honolulu hotel in the early hours of September 10, 2002, and was charged with “abuse of family or household members”. …

Glenn yesterday said in a statement that there was no truth to the allegation.

“My regret now is that I didn’t take the matter to court, however after two years of dispute in the American court system and at the strong advice of my American lawyer I resolved the case in Hawaii to avoid further horrendous court costs, and to bring the matter to an end on an agreed basis which resulted in an order of dismissal.

“It saddens me that yet again it appears the New Zealand media is delving into my personal life to fill their pages while New Zealand is ranked the third highest country in the world for rape and this issue goes virtually unreported.”

Sadly I think this now kills off his inquiry. Sir Owen should focus his efforts in an area where he won’t be turned on and pilloried.

 

Tags:

The Glenn inquiry

June 7th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Phil Kitchin at Dom Post reports:

The future of Sir Owen Glenn’s $2 million inquiry into family violence is on a knife edge after three more staff resigned, and world-leading experts it recruited expressed deep concerns about its future.

The trumpeted inquiry – set up last year with Sir Owen’s promise of $80m to fight family violence – was already reeling from the resignations of its two senior managers and three of its four chairpersons.

Yesterday, three contracted experts in the domestic violence and child abuse sector resigned.

Deborah Mackenzie, Deanne Littlejohn and Alex Port, who have more than 30 years’ collective experience, said they had lost confidence in the inquiry.

They held serious concerns for the safety of information from people interviewed so far, as the inquiry was no longer being led by experts in family violence.

They also lost confidence in its integrity when it announced it would take a “corporate” approach.

“Corporate values revolve around ideas of profit, shutting out the competition and self-interest. Those values are not aligned with social justice,” Ms Mackenzie said.

I don’t know what exactly led to the fallout, but I think we get some idea from the comment above.

If one of the experts has a view that corporate values are evil, and it is all about social justice, I can only imagine where the inquiry was heading. I suspect they had already decided child abuse is a result of capitalism and colonialism, and that all you need to do to stop child abuse is tax rich pricks more and give more money to beneficiaries.

The motivations of Mr Glenn are excellent, and the fact he is offering $80 million of his own money to help fight child abuse is hugely commendable. My hopes from the inquiry, if it continues, is it will produce something worthwhile.

Tags: ,

The Glenn Family Trust

February 2nd, 2013 at 9:09 am by David Farrar

Simon Collins reports at NZ Herald:

Philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn has been forced to freeze grants to projects aimed at ending family violence, apparently because of a dispute in his own family trust over how his fortune should be spent.

Sir Owen vowed last July to give one-tenth of his $800 million fortune to fighting child abuse here.

But the Weekend Herald has learned the money has not arrived. It is understood that the foundation has been told the overseas-based trustees believed it was no longer appropriate to distribute philanthropy in NZ.

Sir Owen, who built up his fortune in a global logistics firm, flew suddenly this week to the United States, where his sons live.

Former Auckland University Business School dean Dr Barry Spicer has resigned as chief executive of the Auckland-based Glenn Family Foundation, and one of its two other staff also left suddenly this week.

In a brief statement, Sir Owen said he had taken over as the foundation’s chief executive and was “in discussions with the trustees” of his family trust, which is separate from the foundation, about the “timing” of the release of funds to the foundation.

This is somewhat intriguing. Normally a family trust squabble would be of no public concern, but in this instance it has impacted some publicly committed projects so naturally has hit the media.

What is intriguing is that the trustees seem to be disagreeing with the person who I assume funded the trust and presumably appoints them. Of course it all depends on how the trust deed is worded.

Regardless a shame that the dispute has disrupted the laudable intentions of Sir Owen.

Tags:

Glenn for Parliament?

October 7th, 2012 at 10:06 am by David Farrar

The Herald on Sunday reports:

Multi-millionaire Owen Glenn has hinted his political aspirations toward becoming an independent MP are very much alive.

In a speech at the BNZ Business Conference this week, Glenn, 72, said he would consider a move into politics if a coalition between National or Labour with NZ First was on the cards for the next election.

“Where will that leave us as a country?” Glenn said. “Maybe someone else has to run on the basis of the current MMP rules … Why not me?”

Owen Glenn is right that that a coalition that involves NZ First is unlikely to be very stable, or good for NZ.

Entrepreneur Tenby Powell, who attended the business conference, said everyone in the room applauded Glenn: “He thinks we should all be standing up and saying what is on our mind as opposed to kow-towing to some of the institutions and bureaucracies and the people who are adding no value.

“He said we could do things differently and that he has some ideas and maybe he should take them forward as an independent candidate.”

University of Auckland professor of politics Barry Gustafson said he was doubtful Glenn could win a seat as an independent MP. “I would be surprised if he could do it because in many ways he has baggage coming in from supporting Labour and NZ First and the hoo-ha over that.”

If successful, however, Glenn would be the first person in about 80 years to enter politics as an independent MP.

I think it is unlkely an Indpendent MP would get elected.

For my 2c I think Glenn could do more good by promoting good policies for NZ, and funding badly needed institutions such as a NZ version of factcheck.org,

Tags:

The Press knights Owen Glenn

July 24th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Press reports:

LIVELY DISCUSSION: The Press deputy editor Ric Stevens, left, interviews Sir Owen Glenn at a Literary Liaison event in Christchurch last night.

Businessman and philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn came to Christchurch to promote his new book last night but his charitable work became the focus.

Last time I checked Owen Glenn was not a knight. In 2008 he was given ONZM, but that is two levels below a knighthood.

Tags: ,

Ever wondered what happens if you do send a scammer money?

March 16th, 2012 at 8:51 am by David Farrar

The Herald interviews Owen Glenn:

Most outrageous request received in a letter/email, asking you for money?

“Please send me Fiji dollars 10,000 my Auntie is sick.”

I had never met Auntie but I sent the money regardless and then four weeks later I receive another email, “Auntie died and I need another Fiji dollars 100,000 for her wake, can you help?”

This confirms what I thought would happen.

Tags:

The Owen Glenn pledge

September 6th, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Owen Glenn says his commitment to donate $100 million to New Zealand youth is not contingent on National and Act winning the November 26 general election.

Glenn said on TV3′s The Nation over the weekend that he would make a donation but said today that his commitment was not contingent on the two parties winning the election, as was suggested by the programme.

“My commitment to this country is not politically motivated, so regardless of who governs New Zealand after November’s election, once my business is sold, which I anticipate will be during October, I will look to announce more on my plans,” Mr Glenn said.

He said he was not trying to influence the outcome of the election through the announcement.

“I happen to believe that currently a government involving both National and Act is best situated to move New Zealand forward and to leverage the opportunity I intend to create through this donation,” he said.

His earlier linking of it to the election outcome excited a couple of people. Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn called it attempted bribery and demanded Owen Glenn be prosecuted and jailed if convicted.

Personally I think the bribery laws are about directly paying people to vote a certain way, not about what is effectively a charitable donation. But I guess one for the lawyers to decide.

But what struck me is the contrast.

If a businessman gets up and announces he will spend $100 million of his own money on helping disadvantaged youth if a political party he has no connection to wins the election, then some on the left call that bribery.

However if a politician gets up and announces he will take an extra $100 million forcibly off rich pricks, and spend it on disadvantaged youth, if his party wins the election (which happens to make that person prime minister, and get a big pay rise) – then that is commendable and noble.

So it is illegal to pledge your own money contingent on an election result, but it is legal to pledge other people’s money.

Tags: , ,

Owen Glenn pledges $100m to New Zealand Youth

September 4th, 2011 at 1:58 pm by David Farrar

3 News reports:

Businessman Owen Glenn says he plans to donate a $100 million to youth and education in New Zealand, but it comes with one condition.

The man who donated half a million dollars to the Labour Party prior to the 2005 general election says he is now back the National Party.

Mr Glenn says the money would be invested from primary school through to tertiary education, and beyond to help New Zealand market its products and services overseas.

He says is worried about the way forward for New Zealand when it comes to growing the country’s wealth.

The 71-year-old worries that our politicians could be bereft of ideas and meaningful policies and he also worries that New Zealanders are lacking vitality and get-up-and-go.

The ex-pat entrepreneur who once lived in a state house in South Auckland has made a fortune, ranking sixth equal in this year’s NBR Rich List.

He has also given millions to Kiwi causes, from the Christchurch quake recovery fund to university business school education.

That is a stunningly generous pledge. He made it on The Nation yesterday.
Glenn isn’t so much backing National, as he is not backing Labour and NZ First. He said he has no confidence in either of those parties. He did say he likes some of what the Greens say, thinks John Key is a good Prime Minister and that ACT have some good policies also.
Glenn was of course previously Labour’s biggest donor. And his fall out with them is because he committed an unforgivable sin – he told the truth. On oath to the Privileges Committee he told the truth about his $100,000 donation to help Winston, and he had proof with phone logs and e-mails. Peters and his lawyer were exposed at blatant and repeat liars.
Labour had a choice with the Privileges Committee. They could either vote to say that Owen Glenn was telling the truth (and his version of events was 100% supported by the evidence) or they could vote to say that Winston was telling the truth (despite the fact his version of evidence was contradicted by the evidence). They chose Winston over Owen Glenn, and alienated a man who had been their biggest supporter.
Tags:

Labour consulted Owen Glenn on GG

September 29th, 2009 at 6:01 am by David Farrar

I think it is wonderful that Labour rewarded their (former) major donor by letting him help choose New Zealand’s Governor-General.

The Herald reports:

Sir Howard Morrison was in line to become Governor General of New Zealand, according to billionaire Owen Glenn. …

He said Sir Howard’s name was on a short list of six when the new Governor General was being chosen.

“When the Labour Party was still talking to me, I actually pushed to have Sir Howard on the Governor General list,” Mr Glenn told the crowded marae.

He said both parties – Labour and National – chose the Governor General.

“He would have been Governor General but for one person.

So Owen Glenn was in the loop enough that he knew how many were on the short list, and who was blocking Sir Howard’s name going forward.  No wonder he kept donating money with such inside access. No wonder he thought he would be made Consul to Monaco.

Tags: , ,

Herald on Owen Glenn

December 29th, 2008 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Today’s Herald Editorial:

The events that were to keep him in the news this year are too fresh in the memory to need mention here. But one element of the saga has gone too little noted and the year should not pass without it being observed. The lengths to which Owen Glenn went to ensure the truth became known were a testament to a commitment to this country that is truly remarkable in someone who left it all of 42 years ago and made his fortune and several homes in the wider world. …

When his word was challenged before Parliament’s privileges committee he cared enough to come back to the country with telephone records and allow us to compare his candour and consistency with that of Mr Peters. It was no contest. He probably does not appreciate the full scale of the good he has done for New Zealand’s public life. …

In the 42 years since he lived here he has been far from a stranger to the country and its politics. But the particular poisons that Mr Peters preached when it suited him, the language he used and postures he took to pretend he was uniquely honourable in New Zealand politics, would not have been as evident to the occasional visitor.

Mr Glenn would be less than human if his attachment to his country has not been soured somewhat by his experience of its politics this year. His year-old medal probably feels a little tarnished but he should be assured it is not. He has repaid the honour a hundredfold, not so much by discrediting a political poseur but by simply demonstrating how much this country can still mean to someone who has been gone so long and done so well.

New Zealand agonises these days about the numbers of its young who migrate for larger incomes and wider opportunity. We probably worry too much. Owen Glenn was an extreme example of the attachment that many, probably most, expatriates share. It is something we must honour and nurture. We need to let him know.

New Zealand does indeed owe Mr Glenn a lot. I say arise Sir Owen :-)

Tags: ,

Police not charging over false electoral returns

November 4th, 2008 at 5:39 pm by David Farrar

The Police have announced (as expected) that they are not charging the party secretary of NZ First over their false 2007 donations return. The media will no doubt report this as a clearance for NZ First, but they fail to understand the difference between a law being broken, and whether an individual can be prosecuted for it.

Let there be no doubt that NZ First have broken electoral laws – their 2005 and 2007 returns were false. It is possible their 2006 one was also.

The reason there are no prosecutions is for two reasons:

  1. The time limit has expired for 2005 and 2006
  2. Only the party secretary can be found liable under the law, and only if she knowingly broke the law.

So let us be very clear. The lack of prosecutions are not because no law was broken. They are because the time has expired for some of them, and only the party secretary can be held liable for the other.

Winston will claim vindication, but this means as much as his claim that he never campaigned from a helicopter. Thanks to the media, the Privileges Committee and the SFO, we have learnt the following:

  1. NZ First filed false donation returns in 2005, 2007 and probably 2006
  2. Winston Peters filed false pecuniary interest returns in 2006 and 2007
  3. NZ First is now known to get major funding from big business interests, something they had gone to massive lengths to conceal
  4. NZ First is known to use a secret trust – of the sort they have decried so often
  5. Winston was found to have lied over not knowing about the Owen Glenn donation
  6. Winston has personally benefited by $140,000 from private donors
  7. Winston has been proven to have lied dozens on times on everything from Owen Glenn, to the Spencer Trust, to what the Trust does, to not soliciting money, to not flying on a helicopter
  8. Documents from his former staffer, Ross Meurant, suggest that NZ First sold policy for cash or at the least allowed corporate donors to greatly influence their policy, and proposed a strategy for NZ First that it becomes a party of narrow sectional corporate interest that will fund it – a strategy that appears to have been implemented and is in total contrast to the public brand they portray

National incidentially never ruled Peters out on the basis he had broken the law. They ruled him out on the basis he could not be trusted, and I doubt any intelligent person could really claim he can be.

On a related note, the Police have not yet said what they are doing about the unauthorised NZ First signs that were referred to them months ago. It is weird they have not managed to announce a single decision on all the other EFA/EA breaches that have been referred to them.

Tags: , , ,

At 10 am today

October 29th, 2008 at 7:58 am by David Farrar

The image above is being erected onto a billboard on Hewletts Road, Tauranga at 10 am this morning.

We hope the residents and visitors of Tauranga and Mount Mauganui enjoy it.

It has been planned for some time. It is pure coincidence that it goes up the day after television reveals that Winston aggressively lobbied for Owen Glenn to be appointed Consul to Monaco. But we are very happy with the timing.

Tags: , , , ,

The corruption of the Clark/Peters Government

October 28th, 2008 at 6:41 pm by David Farrar

One News revealed tonight that Winston Peters aggressively pushed for Owen Glenn to be appointed Consul to Monaco, despite denying he did so. The Government has refused for eight months to release this information, but finally the Ombudsman forced it out of them.

The documents show Peters on multiple occassions asked for progress and was reported to be testy that MFAT were taking so long to do it. Watch the video for the full details. MFAT concluded:

A report prepared in November concluded that the position was marginal and if it did go ahead they recommended another candidate named Franco Repetto, saying he lived in Monaco full time while Glenn was there just three months a year.

Now it has been established that Winston Peters knew about the donation when it was made in 2005. It was also cleared with Mike Williams at the time, and Helen Clark knew about it either also at the time, or at the latest in February 2008.

Clark sat on this info for at least six months, claiming not to know if it was true. This is despite the fact she would have been aware that Peters had been aggressively pushing for Glenn to be appointed Consul.

Did Clark notify the Cabinet Secretary or the MFAT CEO about the (then alleged) donation from Glenn to Peters? Did she tell them that Owen Glenn had confirmed to her he made a donation?

Clark’s ethics are amazing. She is aghast at Gerry Brownlee having 1,000 shares in Contact Energy several years ago, yet she has no problem with her Foreign Affairs Minister receiving $100,000 donations from individuals and then aggressively pushing to give them a diplomatic appointment.

This is not an isolated case. Clark knows that the Vela Family have donated around $250,000 to NZ First and indeed $40,000 to Peters personally (paying off the Clarkson debt). And she knows that Peters forced her Government to agree to very generous funding of the racing industry, against advice of officials.

And what is her response to this? Totally unconcerned. She keeps paying Winston a Ministerial salary even though he won’t even front up to a debate on foreign policy. She says she’ll happily work with him after the election, so long as it increases her chances of desperately clinging to power.

The hypocrisy of her suggesting Peter Dunne should relinquish a Ministerial warrant for expressing a post-election coalition preference, while keeping Winston on despite multiple proven lies, false evidence and basically corrupt behaviour.

This is Helen Clark’s world. If you are willing to vote for her to remain Prime Minister, she will turn a blind eye to any amount of misdeeds or worse. Hence in her mind there is nothing wrong with calling for Peter Dunne to resign his warrant, but keeping Winston Peters on.

This reinforces for me why we need an Independent Commission against Corruption. She covered up over Taito Philip Field with an inquiry given no powers. She kept quiet for months about Winston, and the latest stuff with Shane Jones is being dealt with by way of a Departmental inquiry which by definition can not investigate the Ministers involved.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Woolerton shamed by Glenn saga

October 22nd, 2008 at 2:33 pm by David Farrar

NZ First MP Doug Woolerton has revealed that he felt shamed by the Owen Glenn saga and that he thought the Privileges Committee did its job:

The Owen Glenn donation scandal, which almost capsized Winston Peters, deeply embarrassed his NZ First colleague, Hamilton MP Doug Woolerton.

List MP Mr Woolerton made the revelation during last night’s Waikato Times candidates’ debate for Hamilton East.

He was responding to a question from the floor on the subject and dropped characteristic good humour to answer openly and honestly.

“I was hugely embarrassed. That was unfortunate but the parliamentary committee did its job,” he said.

Doug will be gald NZ First has already had their list ranking!

It is good to see some signs of intelligent life in NZ First – I mean no-one (not even Helen) really could have heard all the evidence and think there was anyway Winston was telling the truth about not knowing.

Tags: , , ,

Voting now open

September 30th, 2008 at 3:54 pm by David Farrar

Voting is now open in the 2008 Kiwiblog Awards. They close at 3 pm Friday 3 October. You can vote in the sidebar.

The most popular nominations in each category are:

MP of the Year

  • Rodney Hide – not even a finalist last year but a popular nominee for his campaign to expose Peters, amongst other things
  • Bill English – a repeat nominee – his year of picking apart the EFA was often cited
  • Pita Sharples – has become the Maori MP, Pakeha love to love, and helped position the Maori Party as Kingmakers.
  • Phil Goff – a China FTA plus a possible United States FTA endears Goff to many readers

Labour MP of the Year

  • Phil Goff was nominated by many but disqualified as the 2007 winner
  • Michael Cullen cited by many for his mastery of the House
  • David Cunliffe also impressed several with his determination to improve the Health sector
  • Winston Peters was nominated multiple times in this category, so who are we to stand in the way of the public!

National MP of the Year

  • Simon Power had the most nominations, having impressed with his constant highlighting of law & order problems, and also superb Chairmanship of the Privileges Committee.
  • John Key is still the country’s Preferred PM
  • Bill English was disqualified having won this category last year
  • Gerry Brownlee also often nominated for his take no prisoners methods in the House

Minor Party MP of the Year

  • Rodney Hide a popular nominee for many
  • Pita Sharples had 12 nominations in this category – will it be Minister Sharples in a few weeks?
  • Sue Bradford has had a quieter year than 2007 when she was runner up, but still gained some nominations
  • Hone Harawira also gained multiple nominations – the once reviled radical has been impressing a few people

Press Gallery of the Journalist

  • Audrey Young – Winston still has not apologised to her, but she was a favourite nominee amongst Kiwiblog readers
  • Duncan Garner – his “straight talking” doesn’t always win friends in Parliament, but has proven popular with some readers
  • Guyon Espiner – cool, clam and collected – the most viewed gallery reporter has some fans
  • Colin Espiner – the blogging journalist has many online fans

Public Servant of the Year

  • Grant Liddell – the SFO Director was a multiple nominee for doing what was right, regardless of what the Government wanted.
  • Owen Glenn – okay not technically a public servant, but many nominated him for having performed a public service.
  • Helena Catt – the Electoral Commission CEO wins the sympathy and nominations of many for having to try and work out what the Electoral Finance Act actually means, and for her willingness to criticise the law she has to enforce.

Enjoy voting.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Privileges Committee Report

September 22nd, 2008 at 8:20 pm by David Farrar

The Privileges Committee report has just been released and is online here.

I will comment on it shortly once I have read it. It is 280 pages long.

By a majority vote, they have recommended Peters be censured by the House. I can not recall the last time an MP was censured.

The majority includes United Future’s Peter Dunne, the Greens’ Russel Norman and Te Ururoa Flavvel from the Maori Party. This is every party on the Privileges Committee except members of Labour First. Note Peter Dunne is a Minister in the Government and the Greens have a co-operation agreement with Labour and the Maori Party abstain on supply and confidence.

They note on the issue of Henry refusing to disclose who suggested Henry approach Glenn for money:

We have received advice that legal professional privilege relates to communications made for the purpose of conveying legal advice and that it does not relate to the identity of a client, particularly when the issue does not relate to the communication of legal advice.

We note that legal professional privilege should not be used as an excuse to withhold information requested by the Privileges Committee, particularly in circumstances where this privilege does not apply.

They make the point that they have required a high standard of proof for their findings, as the allegations are serious – beyond the normal balance of probabilities.

They have determined that there was no debt from Peters to Henry, so no adverse finding there. But they have found the $100,000 constituted a gift as it benefited Peters:

We consider that the payment was of benefit to Mr Peters. Mr Henry’s work on the election petition did not create a direct legal obligation for Mr Peters to pay Mr Henry’s fees. However, Mr Henry told us that Mr Peters “knows that he owes me in the moral sense…”,18 and most clients would acknowledge such a moral obligation to pay a barrister.

A third-party payment to a member’s barrister benefits the member by discharging the moral (and potential legal) obligation to make payment and also by enabling the barrister to provide more assistance to the member in the future. Further, in these particular circumstances the payment contributed to funding an election petition which, if it had been successful, would have been of political benefit to Mr Peters.

They further note:

It is clear that the intent of the donor in this case was not to benefit the barrister. It was the member’s legal expenses that were being contributed to, not the barrister’s wellbeing. Mr Henry’s actions on receipt of Mr Glenn’s money were also unusual. Mr Henry wrote a “pro forma” invoice for GST and income tax purposes. We do not believe this is the normal response of the recipient of a gift. For a GST invoice to have been written, there must have been a taxable supply of services by Mr Henry. The relevant services were received by the member (or his solicitor, Mr Gates, on his behalf).

Together, these elements show clearly that the payment constituted a gift to Mr Peters.

On the issue of whether Peters knew:

The majority of us believe it is extremely unlikely that Mr Peters and Mr Glenn could have had a conversation on that date without the issue of a donation being raised, even if the original contact with Mr Glenn had been by Mr Henry, as claimed by Mr Peters and Mr Henry. The majority of us consider that the sequence of telephone calls followed immediately by an email containing bank account details indicates that the topic must have arisen during one or both of those conversations. It would have assisted our consideration if Mr Peters or Mr Henry had been able to recall more detail of their telephone conversation. Given the evidence before us, the majority of us concluded that Mr Peters had some knowledge of Mr Glenn’s intention to make a donation.

And their conclusion:

The majority of us find that Mr Peters had some knowledge of the $100,000 donation. Further, we find that Mr Peters, having an understanding of the arrangement by which funds were raised by Mr Henry, needed to make an honest attempt to file a correct return. For both these reasons, the majority of us find that a contempt occurred.

The proposed penalty:

Making a false or misleading return is a serious matter, akin to misleading the House. The majority of us therefore recommend that Mr Peters be censured for knowingly providing false or misleading information on a return of pecuniary interests, and ordered to file, within seven days of the House so ordering, amended returns for the years ended 31 January 2006, 2007, and 2008 covering any gifts, debts, or payments in kind that he has not previously registered. We request that the registrar ensure that the amended returns are published, recording that they are made subject to an order of the House.

This could be interesting, as it means any other donation to Peters legal fees, in excess of $500, has to be disclosed – if the House accepts the recommendation.

Now on the part regarding who paid for the $40,000 to Clarkson. Brian Henry is saying that as the cheque was from Wayne Peters’ trust account, he saw this as a reimbursement by Winston personally. Hilarious.

Now onto the letter from the SFO. The Director makes it very clear he got advise on whether to inform the Committee, and he has also bent over backwards to be fair to the donors who paid the $40,000 by redacting their names. He even asks the Privileges Committee not to order him to supply further information, even though he acknowledges a request from the Privileges Committee over-rides the secrecy provisions of the Serious Fraud Act.

The money laundering around the $40,000 is fascinating. Brian Henry did pay the $40,000 but the day before he sent Thompson WIlson (the law firm where two of the Spencer Trustees then worked)  his bank account details.

The Spencer Trust only has $15,400 being left over donations from Donor A. Then Person B (not Winston Peters we are told) lent the Trust $24,600 so they could pay $40,000 to Brian Henry  on 5 April.

Donor A (almpost certainly the Velas) then donated 4 cheques of $9,999 on the 7th of April 2006. Each cheque was from a different subsidiary company.

This allowed Person B’s loan to be repaid on 7 April.

What this means is that Donor A (almost certainly the Velas) personally donated $40,000 to pay off the $40,000 debt Peters owed Clarkson. He has to now declare this on his amended returns.

This raises massive issues relating to the conduct of his portfolios. The whole idea of disclosure is that the transparency it brings to whether Government decisions are affected by donations or gifts to an MP.

So the Minister for Racing in 2006 had Donor A – almost certainly the Velas, pay a $40,000 debt on his behalf. The Velas are multi-millionaires in the racing industry.  And the Minister of Racing convinces the Government – against Treasury advice – to provide lots of money to the racing industry.

Does Helen Clark not think that this gift should have been disclosed as it strikes at the heart of decision making in her Government? And no it is nothing to do with NZ First – this is a personal gift to the Minister of Racing from persons massively affected by the policies he is responsible for in his portfolio.

Helen actually has three decisions to make. They are:

  1. Does she sack Peters as a Minister for breaking the Cabinet Manual and not disclosing a $100,000 gift (let alone the multiple lies Peters has told)
  2. Having the $100,000 gift declared, does she allow Peters to keep it? Probably as it was paid to Henry, not Peters – but here is the big problem for her.
  3. The $40,000 from the Velas (assuming it is them) has to now be filed on the Register by Peters. Clark has to now decide whether she lets him keep the $40,000.

Here is the Cabinet Manual quote from section 2.79:

Ministers who accept gifts worth more than the prescribed value must not only disclose them to the Registrar of Pecuniary Interests of Members of Parliament, but also must relinquish them, unless they obtain the express permission of the Prime Minister to retain them.

So it is clear Helen has to decide whether Peters keeps the $40,000 gift (payment of a debt) from the Velas.

Now how corrupt will she look, if she says it is okay for her Minister of Racing to take and keep $40,000 from a family/company which has benefited hugely from the decisions of the Minister of Racing. He managed to force through millions of dollars of funding of racing prizes, against the advice of Treasury.

Clark has to make a decision on this. Peters has to relinquish the gift unless she gives her express permission he can keep it.

No wonder Winston wanted the SFO evidence suppressed. It was bad enough that NZ First had benefited by huge donations from the Velas, but to have it revealed that Peters personally was gifted $40,000 from them is hugely damaging.

Now it is possible the donations were not from the Velas but read the SFO letter and it looks highly likely. We should know more when Peters does his amended returns.

And as you consider all this, consider what depths the ethical standards of the Clark Government have descended to. Clark condones a Minister who:

  1. breaks the rules of the Register of Pecuniary Interests
  2. breaks the rules of the Cabinet Manual
  3. fails to disclose a $100,000 gift
  4. tells multiple lies about it
  5. gives false evidence to the Privileges Committee
  6. benefits with $100,000 towards his legal fees from a billionaire whom he then lobbies to be made Consul to Monaco
  7. has a $40,000 debt paid off by a company/family that benefits greatly from policy decisions he makes as Minister of Racing
  8. has filed false donation returns to the Electoral Commission

Any one of these should be enough for dismissal arguably. But Clark is keeping him on despite all of the above. Could standards possibly get any lower?

Tags: , , , , ,

Clark confirms Peters stays regardless of Privileges

September 22nd, 2008 at 10:19 am by David Farrar

Helen Clark has confirmed, according to NewstalkZB, that she is keeping Peters on as a Minister regardless of the outcome from the Privileges Committee.

The Prime Minister says the whole process of investigation into New Zealand First’s finances has been tainted from the outset.

What is she referring to? Does she mean those Labour MPs who argued against or voted against even asking Owen Glenn to call evidence? If they had got their way it would have been a cover up – just like the original inquiry into Taito Phillip Field that cleared him.

Helen Clark says the privileges committee process has been totally unsatisfactory in terms of any natural justice. She says for that reason she is unlikely to be forced into a decision over Winston Peters this week. She says it has become so politicised with some MPs going into committee with made up minds before they had even heard a single piece of evidence.

Dail Jones arguably yes. I doubt anyone else had a closed mind. Even I have changed my mind on what Peters may have done wrong, as evidence emerged.

But the PM also misses the point here. The issue is not so much the outcome of the Privileges Committee, but the information disclosed by its inquiries. In one sense it does not matter greatly what the Committee recommends (the House decides). What matters is what has been disclosed about the veracity of a Minister in her Government.

The process used by the Privileges Committee has exposed that Peters has lied repeatedly – to the media, to the public and to the Privileges Committee. There is no real reasonable doubt about that. The evidence that Peters knew about the donations is as firm as you can get without an actual tape recording of their conversation.

So Clark is saying she has no problems with Ministers who lie, lie and lie again. So long as their parties vote to keep her in power. This is the standard of Government Helen Clark is happy with. And Clark wants to campaign on “trust” – bring it on.

However, Miss Clark very much doubts there will be anything to justify Mr Peters’ reinstatement. She intends to continue burning the midnight oil doing his old job as Foreign Minister.

It is important for people to realise how misleading those comments are. First of all Peters is still a Minister with all the baubles of office – except actually having to do any work. Secondly he was suspended from his portfolios purely on the basis of the SFO investigation, so Helen suggesting she is being restrained by not reinstating him due to the Privileges Committee is inane.

The big issue is whether Clark will rule out Peters as a Minister after the election. So long as she won’t, then people need to be reminded:

Tags: , , ,

So what really happened

September 18th, 2008 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

I blogged yesterday on what Winston claims happen. It is fit only as a bedtime story for five year olds, or the Prime Minister.

Today I am going to blog what I think actually happened, and how Winston created this trouble for himself. This is based on the evidence to date, and some guesswork.

He started off only being hypocritical, but in hiding that hypocrisy he eventually told a lie, and then to cover that lie up, he had to tell many many more. Here is my timeline of events:

  1. In August 2005 Peters asked for a meeting with Glenn. They met, and then his staffer Roger McClay asked for a donation to NZ First which was declined. It is fascinating that NZ First tried to solicit money from Labour’s largest donor prior to the 2005 election. One can speculate on why they thought this would be productive and whether this indicated they had already decided to back Labour, but that is not germane.
  2. In late November 2005 a staffer (probably Roger McClay) approached Glenn again for a donation to the petition. That staffer probably had the discussion with Glenn, that Henry claims he had. They do not want to reveal that it is probably Roger McClay as the thought of Winston not knowing the fundraising details of his own staff is even more unlikely than their other stories.
  3. In December 2005 Peters directly solicited a donation for the Tauranga electoral petition, pretty much the way Owen Glenn describes it with a phone call on 5 December, another call after that, and then the 14 December call. All the evidence supports this. The reason Glenn now said yes is because he saw it as helping Labour, and he checked with Mike Williams who said it would not be unhelpful.
  4. Peters obviously took the call from Glenn, and then told Henry to send the bank account details.
  5. The request to Glenn to keep the donation confidential was important. The NZ First brand was built on anti big business donations, and accepting $100,000 for legal expenses would weaken their brand.
  6. If Glenn had said yes to the original request to donate to NZ First, then that would have been paid to the Spencer Trust I am sure. It was vital that the public never know of the funding from big business. Peters and Henry had constructed things very carefully so they could avoid disclosure (arguably) legally. At this stage nothing has been done wrong, save the hypocrisy and maybe the failure to disclose on the Register of Interests (the way they structured it gives them an arguable case though).
  7. Then on 15 February 2008, Owen Glenn revealed he had donated to another political party (which is how he saw it). That got some minor interest in the media as to which other party.
  8. Even worse on 19 February 2008 he revealed he was in line to become Honorary Consul to Monaco, that Helen had already approved it, and he was just waiting for Winston to “get off his arse and do the paperwork”.
  9. At this point Peters would have realised it would be a bad look if the public realised Glenn had donated $100,000 to benefit Peters, and he was under consideration for Consul. Plus it undermines their no big donor brand. So he would be worried. But as long as Glenn kept the confidence it was al okay. Only Peters and Henry (and maybe McClay) knew of the donation. The media could guess but could not prove.
  10. But then disaster struck in the form of Dail Jones on 20 February 2008. He revealed to the media that there had been a large mystery donation to NZ First in December 2007 and that it was closer to $100,000 than $10,000. Owen Glenn also refused to rule out donating to NZ First, saying through his PR firm that people should speak to the party. This created huge media interest.
  11. Now people (including me) started adding 2+2 together to get 5, and thought the December 2007 donation was from Owen Glenn. Peters furiously denied it. Peters was right ironically.
  12. Peters was furious as the allegation was wrong. There were two secret donations – not one. And Dail Jones had accidentally come close to exposing both of them. The allegation that the Nov 2007 donation was from Owen Glenn was wrong, but to prove it wrong would have meant revealing the Spencer Trust. No wonder he was furious at Jones (to be fair to Jones he just told the truth and if you run a secret trust without your Party President in the loop, you run the risk he may blunder into it)
  13. Now again at this stage no lies had been told. It was all hypocritical but Peters denials had been correct.
  14. The next day Helen talks to Owen Glenn and he informs her of the donation. She rings Peters and he denies it to her. Now probably in Peters’ mind he did not lie, only deceive. He would have been careful to use language which ruled out a donation to the party or to him, but not to his legal fees.
  15. The fact he doesn’t contact Glenn to ask what this is about, is incidentially proof he obviously knew. If he did not know, he would have asked. Now again at this stage no major lie, just some deception.
  16. On 24 February he does another half lie denying there was any mystery donation at all. In fact there was – from the Spencer Trust. Peters probably justifies this because the Spencer Trust is not a mystery to him, and he knows the $80,000 was made up of individual Vela cheques of $10,000 into the trust, so in his mind there was no big anonymous donation.
  17. On 28 February 2008 we have the infamous “No” press conference. In hindsight this was a fatal mistake. By going so over the top, he cut off his wriggle room for later. He thought he was on safe ground denying Owen Glenn donated to NZ First, but he also said No to Guyon Espiner saying “Can I just clarify with you. Are you saying you have never received one dollar from Owen Glenn or any associate of Owen Glenn” and that was right on the edge of being a lie. The trouble with having a big No prop, is you can’t suddenly stop using it, so he waved the No sign again. A big mistake.
  18. Now at this stage Peters has not told a fully formed lie – many half lies, but he looks to have got away with his denials as no one asked exactly the right question. Again it is because Peters knew exactly what the donation was about, that he could so carefully deny it.
  19. Then in July 2008 someone leaked to Audrey Young the e-mails between Owen Glenn and Steve Fisher where Glenn says “Steve – are you saying I should deny giving a donation to NZ First?? When I did?”. She published these on 12 July 2008.
  20. Peters responds that Glenn did not donate to NZ First. This is technically true. Glenn referred to NZ First when he should have said Winston’s legal bills. Winston is a great nit picker and puts huge reliance on the difference. At this stage again no outright lie from Peters.
  21. But he again becomes his own worst enemy when on 14 July he attacks the NZ Herald can calls on Tim Murphy and Audrey Young to resign. He offers them a look at the party books. He does this because he knew the donation went into Brian Henry’s account. But he is most unfair in attacking the Herald. He knows that email is from Owen Glenn, and they reported it in good faith. It is not the Herald’s fault that Glenn used loose language around his donation. His attack is over the top and Peters at his worst. It is one thing to deny the accuracy of the e-mail by playing semantic games, but it is another thing to try and take the moral high ground as Peters did.
  22. On the 16th of July he again reassures Clark again there has been no donation to NZ First. Still not lying (but certainly deceiving) as the donation was to his legal fees.
  23. Around this time Peters and Henry would be terrified that Glenn will eventually speak to a journalist and reveal details of his donation.  The Herald also prints a further leaked letter from Glenn to Peters and they must wonder what else is still to emerge. I have little doubt phone records will show them in constant communication that week. So they decide to pre-empt it by announcing it on 18 July 2008.
  24. That day Peters’ mother dies. I do not think so badly of them that they choose to announce it that day because of her death. I think they had already decided on that day (Peters had been overseas and they wanted to do it when he was back in NZ) and decided to carry on, even after she died. That’s still pretty low though. With the NZF conference starting the next day they needed to get it out of the way.
  25. Peters and Henry had a big big choice ahead of them. Do they reveal that Peters knew of the donation? They could argue that he had never denied a donation to his legal fees. Technically he had never lied until then – only deceived. But Peters would know that having waved that no sign around at the press conference and called on the Herald staff to resign and apologise, he would get somewhat crucified if he revealed he was playing at semantics and he did know of a donation – but it was to his legal fees, not him or his party (as he saw it). Ironically in hindsight that would have been the path of less pain.
  26. So they made a fatal mistake. They told a bare faced lie. They both did. On 18 July 2008 they announced that Brian Henry only informed him of this at 5 pm that day. Peters explictly said that up until then he had been “unaware of the source of any of the donations for legal expenses”. That was the start of the end. Up until then they were only half lies, or deceptions (in politics there is a difference).
  27. They had to ten resort to further lies, to back up the big lie. How did Henry get in touch with Owen Glenn?  On 20 July they claimed a tip off from someone whose name Henry could not recall, but was not Peters or Mike Williams. Another deception which turned into a lie. They probably mean McClay, and he probably was involved at first but as the e-mails and phone calls prove Peters was in the loop the whole time. It was not a case of McClay or Peters knowing – they both did.
  28. Incidentially on 21 July the Vela donations came to light, but that is a story for another day.
  29. Peters lied again on 25 July when he said in a written statement “The Glenn contribution went to my barrister Brian Henry. As soon as I learned of it I informed the Prime Minister and alerted the media.” Once you tell one lie, you have to keep lying.
  30. Peters and Henry both lied again to the Privileges Committee on 19 August 2008, saying again he never knew of the donation. Note neither of them gave testimony under oath, so they can not be done for perjury.
  31. Henry also claimed on 19 August “I phoned Owen Glenn and he forwarded $100,000 which was paid to me on account of my fees”. This has been proven false. Glenn phoned Peters.
  32. Owen Glenn’s letter was published on 26 August 2008, along with one from Peters’ respomding to it. Peters again lies repeating that he had no knowledge of any donation.
  33. On 28 August Helen Clark reveals she knew back in February 2008 of the donation, from Owen Glenn.
  34. On 4 September another Glenn letter is published. He details the phone call and e-mail. Peter Williams tables a statement claiming Brian Henry spoke to Owen Glenn on two occassions.
  35. On 9 September Glenn testifies and provides proof of the phone call from him to Peters and the e-mail seven minutes later from Brian Henry.
  36. On 10 September, Peters testifies again. Peters admits to conversation with Glenn but denies money discussed.
  37. On 16 September Henry testified again. He admits that the client in the e-mail was Peters but still insists somehow Peters never knew of the donation. Phone records also prove Peters called Henry straight after the Glenn phone call.

I am pretty confident that this is close to what happened. It explains everything. Peters at first did not lie but he then realised he had gone too far in playing semantic games with the media to reveal he knew of a donation to his lawyer. So on 18 July he told a lie. And that one lie on 18 July led to dozens and dozens more lies as they tried to concoct a story about how Glenn could have donated without Peters knowing. I suspect they also exchanged conversations with McClay for conversations with Henry.

The moral of the story is the same as for Richard Nixon – it is the cover-up that gets you in the end!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Winston’s story

September 16th, 2008 at 4:41 pm by David Farrar

This Tremain cartoon, taken from Homepaddock, sums it all up.

The TVNZ midday news saw political reporter Jessica Mutch try to explain what the Peters/Henry story now was, and you could see the palpable disbelief.

Colin Espiner blogs a line he stole from brother Guyon:

My dear brother Guyon has pinched a few lines off me over the years, so I’m going to nick one of his: The only testimony Brian Henry could have delivered before the privileges committee today that was less credible is if Winston Peters’ lawyer had simply said: “My dog ate it.”

Well the dog ate the phone bill from the mystery motel he claims to have ring Owen Glenn from!

New Zealand First insiders and Peters himself had talked tough over Henry’s recall to the committee this morning, claiming to some journalists that the lawyer would provide evidence this morning that refuted Owen Glenn’s version of events. He did nothing of the sort.

Indeed, everything Henry said and offered this morning in the way of evidence simply corroborated Glenn’s version of events.

You have to wonder what sort of morons talk up in advance evidence that actually proves their Leader lied, and corroborates what Owen Glenn said. Either they didn’t know what Brian Henry was going to say (which means they have blind faith) or they didn’t understand how damning it would be for Peters and Henry.

In my opinion, Henry offered doubt today but it was not reasonable.

Indeed. Reasonable doubt means exactly that – is it reasonable. No reasonable person can really doubt that Peters has lied. And as it so happens the Privileges Committee does not even need to satisfy the criminal standard of “beyond reasonable doubt”. They merely need to satisfy “on the balance of probabilities”.

Will this finally be enough for Clark to sack Peters? I doubt it.

I doubt it also. She needs Peters after the election, so that means minor stuff like lying the public, lying to the media, false declarations, and lying to the Privileges Committee are all forgiveable by Clark.

UPDATE: NZPA quotes the Laboru Party MPs trying to defend Winston:

Labour MPs said the way Mr Glenn and Mr Henry referred to each other by first names in emails showed familiarity.

So these MPs have no shame? no standards at all? They are so desperate to protect Winston (and incidentially declare their largest ever donor to be a liar) that their defence is that first names were used in emails.

This is so pitiful, I won’t even bother pointing out the gaping flaws in their argument. I’ll let readers do that for me.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Henry changes story

September 16th, 2008 at 11:37 am by David Farrar

From Stuff:

Winston Peters has produced a phone record which backs up billionaire Owen Glenn’s timeline of events around a $100,000 donation towards the New Zealand First leader’s legal costs.

His lawyer Brian Henry today conceded to Parliament’s privileges committee the pair’s recollection of events was poor and their earlier story did not now seem correct.

And not just their earlier testimony under oath, but everything they have said is cast into doubt.

The email, produced by Mr Glenn, shows Mr Henry referred to the phone conversation with “my client” at the precise time of the phone call.

Mr Henry has previously denied the “client” was Mr Peters.

But today in a video-linked appearance before the committee Mr Henry changed crucial parts of his story.

He acknowledged that Mr Peters must be the client referred to.

Now remember he denied multiple times Peters was the client. He denied this directly to the Privileges Committee.

Phone records from Mr Peters which he promised the committee last week and which were released today show Mr Peters called him one minute after he finished talking to Mr Glenn.

Mr Henry’s email was sent one minute after his phone call with Mr Peters ended.

The truth comes out. Not that it wasn’t already out for 99% of NZ.

Mr Glenn has said Mr Peters asked for the $100,000 donation in their phone call.

But Mr Henry today gave the committee a different explanation, although he acknowledged he had little recollection of the actual events.

He said he had spoken to Mr Glenn in either late November or early December asking for a donation.

Prove it. Where is the phone log?

He said the phone call from Mr Peters on December 14, which was presumably coincidental, reminded him to follow up with Mr Glenn, which he immediately did.

“That jogged my memory to seek a donation,” he said.

This is just so much bullshit. Their story has changed so many times, to fit the facts, it is just beyond belief.

Now let us make this simple for Helen:

  1. Owen Glenn phoned Winston at 1.27 pm
  2. That call ended at 1.33 pm
  3. Winston phoned Brian Henry at 1.34 pm
  4. That call ended at 1.39 pm
  5. At 1.40 pm Brian Henry sent Owen Glenn the bank account details for the donation

I am sure Helen or Michael Cullen will find a way to put it all down to an innocent explanation.

UPDATE:

NZPA also report:

Mr Glenn has denied having any dealings with Mr Henry, prompting calls for Mr Henry to produce phone records to back up his claim.

But Mr Henry said the call was made around the time of Mr Peters’ Tauranga electoral petition, between November 22 and December 1, 2005, and he was staying in a motel that only kept phone records dating back to 2006.

Well this is very easy to resolve. The motel may not have kept phone records, but Telecom certainly will have. Not that there is any real doubt, but if the Privileges Committee thinks Henry is telling the truth (this time!), then they can easily verify it by asking Telecom (and Telecom cannot refuse) to supply the phone records for those 10 days for the motel. Telecom keep these records for at least seven years.

Tags: , , ,

Peters safe

September 16th, 2008 at 6:17 am by David Farrar

Helen Clark has made clear she will not be sacking Winston Peters, and in fact will keep him on after the election. The Dom Post reports:

Prime Minister Helen Clark further distanced herself from Mr Peters yesterday, but set a high hurdle for sacking him by saying it would take a “devastating development” at today’s privileges committee hearing for her to act.

Now this is a bizarre hurdle as the only person appearing today is Brian Henry, who will presumably come up with the fifth or sixth version of events about how Winston knew nothing. Only if a witness hostile to Peters was testifying could there be any chance of a devastating development.

The reality is the phone call and e-mail prove beyond reasonable doubt that Peters knew of the donation, and that he was the one referred to by Henry as “my client” as the times match.

Helen Clark has shown herself willing to condone Ministers who lie not once, not twice, but repeatedly to the public. And then she declares the election is about trust!!

Tags: , , , ,