Winston denies paying Hone’s fine

June 3rd, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Current and former MPs and “ordinary people” banded together to pay the $632 fine Hone Harawira received last year for defying police at a 2012 Auckland housing protest.

But while one of his Mana Party contenders claims Winston Peters was among the donors, Mr Harawira will not name them, even though it appears he is required to do so under parliamentary rules. …

But last week at a public meeting of Housing NZ tenants in Grey Lynn, the sole nominee for Mana Party candidate for Tamaki Makaurau, Kereama Pene, said: “Our Mana leader was dragged out of his car in GI.

He got done for it. Do you know who paid his $500 fine?”

Someone called out “Kim Dotcom!”.

But Mr Pene said: “No, it was worse than that, much worse than that, it was Winston Peters.”

I have to say that it seems unlikely.

However, the fine, including costs, is large enough to require disclosure under the rules for Parliament’s Register of Pecuniary Interests because it was paid by someone other than Mr Harawira.

The rules also require the identity of those paying off MPs’ debts to be declared.

Mr Harawira last night refused to comment on what he said was a “petty” matter.

Following the petty rules is only for white MOFOs!

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From No to No comment

May 29th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

NZ First Leader Winston Peters refused to answer questions about his ugly parliamentary put-down of his rogue former MP Brendan Horan in his first day back after making the comment a week ago.

Reacting to a series of interruptions from Mr Horan, who is running a campaign against his former political mentor, Mr Peters had referred to him in the House as “the Jimmy Savile of New Zealand politics”. British broadcaster Savile was accused after his death of child sex abuse.

Mr Peters avoided reporters on the way from the House after offering the insult but was back yesterday. Asked what he meant by the comment his response was “next question” which he gave 10 more times to follow up questions.

So he cowers behind parliamentary privilege. Such a nasty piece of work. If he said outside the House, what he said inside, he would be facing the largest defamation suit in New Zealand’s history I’d say.

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Is NZ First being run out of their parliamentary office?

May 28th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Hamish Rutherford at Stuff reports:

Brendan Horan claims he has been inundated by people wanting to share information about NZ First as he makes new allegations that his former party had breached Parliament’s rules.

Horan’s office today released a memo written by Apirana Dawson, NZ First’s director of operations, to party leader Winston Peters addressing “poor party financial structure and inadequate funds to support the party and to run a campaign”.

Horan alleged last week that Dawson and other NZ First staff were engaged in party work when they were meant to be focused on parliamentary activities. Speaker David Carter has confirmed he is investigating.

In today’s document, from July 2012, Dawson called for the establishment of a system where party members had their fees increased to at least $3 a month, to be paid by direct debit.

Parliamentary staff should not be working on membership issues for the party. That is a bright red line.

Peters has not fronted in Parliament for almost a week. No doubt when he does he’ll huff and puff and bluster.

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Garner on Peters

May 26th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Duncan Garner writes:

Poor Winston, what’s going on? It looks like you’re really struggling to land any decent hits in Parliament these days. It all looks a bit limp and sad.

You’ve been there since 1978, save for three years in the wilderness before this term. If you ever had the answers then you’ve had ample time to share them.

Instead, what did we see this week? You abusing your privilege of free speech by spewing vicious bile at an MP who is in Parliament only because you wanted him there. Brendan Horan is hardly the first NZ First MP selected for loyalty rather than ability.

Calling Horan the “Jimmy Savile of New Zealand politics” was evil and cowardly – and you know it. If anyone makes any sort of claim against you, you’re quick to threaten legal action and demand retractions and apologies. But when you’re the one dishing it out those rules don’t apply: you can waltz into Parliament and get all the protection you need.

It is the double standard. Winston threatens Radio NZ with defamation for merely reporting an allegation that he has hired a certain campaign manager, and then a couple of days later he cowers behind parliamentary privilege to effectively slander his former colleague as a paedophile.

I can’t help but point out the irony of it all to you. I remember covering a speech you made in Kawerau in 2008 and you had Horan along as your little sycophantic sidekick.

Horan was in awe of you, banging on to the journos about how you were an honest and loyal man who only wanted what was right for New Zealand. He told us you never took money from Owen Glenn and everyone was wrong to be questioning your integrity and honesty. Horan was really fired up that afternoon.

Brendan was a true believer.

David Cunliffe has flung the door open to you by shunning the Greens’ offer to campaign as a Labour-Greens government.

That suits you – we know you don’t like the Greens. It’s why you couldn’t go with Labour in 1996 – you didn’t want to share power with the Alliance in a three-party coalition.

This is why I think Peters will go with Labour. He’ll block the Greens from ministerial roles and claim he saved the Government from the Greens.

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Can NZ First survive without Winston

May 24th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins at Stuff reports:

Anyone who kids themselves that there is life after Winston Peters for NZ First only had to watch the party floundering in the absence of its leader this week.

Frantically trying to head off an attack by their former colleague, expunged NZ Firster Brendan Horan, Peters’ front bench achieved the seemingly impossible feat of making Horan look good by comparison.

They were clueless in the face of Horan’s determination to extract utu from his former party by tabling documents he claimed showed improper use of the taxpayer funded leader’s fund. …

With its leader knocking 70, NZ First is a clock that has been slowly winding down since the 1996 election delivered Peters the balance of power.

The core team around Peters back then was a new generation of swaggering and smart young Maori MPs who might have ensured the party’s survival. Peters’ greatest flaw as a politician has been his inability to hold on to any of them or, for that matter, the MPs who followed.

Since the original caucus bustup back in 1997, he has surrounded himself with increasingly eccentric and obscure MPs to fill the seats vacated by the older and wiser heads he managed to burn off over the years. Of his current caucus, only one – the nanna-like Barbara Stewart – is carried over from the 2005-2008 parliamentary term (NZ First spent a term out of Parliament).

Since the party’s return in 2011, Parliament has been collectively holding its breath waiting for the current team to implode given some of the more eccentric selections – like former North Shore mayor Andrew Williams, notorious for urinating in a public place.

The implosion hasn’t happened yet but there have been plenty of flaky moments. Richard Prosser launched a diatribe against Muslims that prompted hundreds of complaints to the NZ First board. The party’s Pasifika MP, Asenati Lole-Taylor, famously asked questions of the police minister in Parliament about blow jobs and has carved out a cult following on Twitter for her bizarre outbursts. Her most recent was to accuse a press gallery journalist of cyber bullying after he referred to her “shooting the messenger”. Lole-Taylor thought he was alleging she had shot an actual parliamentary messenger.

That is so so funny.

The reason the politicians are rubbing their hands in glee, however, is that nastiness on the campaign trail inevitably boomerangs on the politician pushing the button, which is why parties are tripping over themselves to accuse each other of playing in the dirtiest pool.

When Labour leader David Cunliffe told a Rotorua audience that John Key was a liar, for instance, the prime minister’s office was delighted. After the story was moved from the Stuff.co.nz home page because of concerns about a lack of balance, Key’s office complained to Fairfax.

It would have preferred the headline labelling Key a liar to remain online all day if possible. In its view, it did far more damage to Cunliffe than it did to Key.

I agree, it did.

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Horan vs Peters continued

May 23rd, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Hostilities between independent MP Brendan Horan and his former NZ First colleagues have taken up yet more of Parliament’s time as Mr Horan made allegations of bullying behaviour under protection of Parliamentary privilege this afternoon.

Mr Horan today welcomed news Speaker David Carter was following up his allegations of misuse of Parliamentary funds by NZ First, but continued his attack during Parliament’s Question Time with a series of questions directed to Labour Minister Simon Bridges about bullying which appeared to thinly veiled references to MPs from his former party.

He asked Mr Bridges whether anti-bullying guidelines for the workplace would “provide protections to ensure that a member of Parliament or Party Leader cannot bully or intimidate a Parliamentary Service employee into conducting unlawful activities, for example accessing the emails of another member without that member’s permission?”.

With NZ First Leader Winston Peters still in Auckland this afternoon, it was up to his MP Richard Prosser to run interference on Mr Horan.

However his attempts to have Mr Horan’s questions ruled out of order were knocked back by Mr Carter.

While Mr Bridges said it was difficult to answer abstract questions, “I suspect that the matter the member refers to, if it was made out, is one for Parliamentary Services”.

Mr Horan followed up by asking whether the anti-bullying guidelines “mean that an employee who made a complaint to her employee who made a complaint to her employer about abusive emails and text messages from her boss should be able to respond to that person’s public denials without fear of legal action? If not why not?”.

It will be interesting to see what further information emerges.

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Transtasman on Winston

May 22nd, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Transtasman notes in their latest newsletter:

NZ First leader Winston Peters is known for his expensive suits but he triggered a Savile row of a different nature when he turned on ex-NZ First MP Brendan Horan this week. To say there is bad blood between the two is an insult to leukemia. The loathing runs deeper than the Marianas Trench, as wide as the mouth of the Amazon.

But to do as Peters did, and to describe Horan as “the Jimmy Savile of NZ politics” – and to do so not once but twice in what was clearly a calculated insult – takes it to a whole new level. Savile, the deceased British “celebrity” who sexually preyed on young, often handicapped, girls, is the nuclear option of insults. It all looked a bit desperate. You cannot make such a comment without backing it up with some evidence.

I really hope the media don’t let this drop and they ask Peters when is next turns up to Parliament what he meant by his comments. Was he alleging Horan is a paedophile, and if so what is his proof. If he wasn’t implying that about Horan, then why did he twice refer to him as a Jimmy Saville.

Yet Peters not only failed to front in Parliament the following day, when Horan signalled he would reveal his own deep scandal about NZ First.

It left the rest of the NZ First MPs – who tend to resemble a bunch of ageing Social Creditors with anger management issues at the best of times – making a shambles of trying to use Parliament’s standing orders to block their former colleague.

That bit in bold is gold.

In the end Horan’s revelations Peters was using the leader’s budget for electioneering and campaigning expenses, namely software and staff, proved something of a damp squib. It is still far from clear NZ First is doing anything wrong with its parliamentary funding, although no doubt the party does – like all the others – push it right up to the edge of the rules.

I have to say I don’t see any proof of wrongdoing either, at this stage.

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Peters smears Horan

May 20th, 2014 at 4:56 pm by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins at Stuff reports:

Open hostilities have erupted between independent MP Brendan Horan and his former boss after NZ First leader Winston Peters today referred to Horan as “Jimmy Saville”. 

Peters twice made reference to Horan as Saville, the late BBC presenter accused of sex crimes against children.

The first reference followed Horan attempting to table NZ First board meeting minutes which he told Parliament “point to improper use of taxpayer money”.

Peters responded: “This House should not be used in that way particularly by the Jimmy Saville of New Zealand politics.”

His second reference followed Horan attempting to table a document in Parliament linking Peters to a racehorse.

Horan was denied permission to table the document, prompting Peters to say “Jimmy Saville needs to know better than that”.

Calling your former MP a paedophile is a new low, even for Peters. His current colleagues might want to think about what he’ll call them, should he ever decide to sack them from the party also?

Any other MP who called another MP something like this, would be crucified by the media.I hope media ask Peters why he called Horan this, and does he think it is an appropriate remark to make in Parliament?

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Winston’s horse

May 15th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is rejecting allegations from a former colleague that he misused party money and failed to declare interests in a successful racehorse.

Independent MP Brendan Horan, who was elected to Parliament as a New Zealand First member, said Mr Peters should reveal his own spending and interests instead of making “spurious allegations” against Justice Minister Judith Collins.

Mr Peters has been attacking Ms Collins in the House for not fully declaring the details of her trip to Beijing in October, but has failed to land the killer blow.

Yesterday, Mr Horan claimed that his former leader should have declared his part-ownership of a 5-year-old mare named Bellazeel in Parliament’s register of pecuniary interests.

The horse was sired by famous racehorse Zabeel and has itself claimed more than $20,000 in prizemoney in the past year. …

He believed there was no requirement to declare ownership in a horse, let alone a 10 per cent stake in a syndicate lease of a horse.

The lease, which was bought in a charity auction in 2008, has now expired.

MPs must declare all property, directorships, gifts, shares and other interests in the register each year.

Registrar Sir Maarten Wevers said he had not received complaints on the issue, and it was up to each MP to decide whether or not something fell within the terms of the register.

He said the ownership of racehorses by MPs had been raised with his office previously.

Sir Maarten said racehorses that were held by syndicates needed to be declared, but he did not know the full details of the ownership structure of Bellazeel.

“I would think it would certainly be … a business entity undertaking … something for a pecuniary profit. That’s what you race a horse for, I presume.”

Mr Horan and National MP Chris Tremain have previously disclosed part-ownership of a racehorse in the register.

Frankly I don’t care if Winston owns a horse or not. In fact I think the Register of Pecuniary Interests is sometimes too intrusive. What we should know about is if an MP is receiving large gifts from people or companies, and any significant investments they have which could influence their vote. I don’t think we need to know the names of their family trusts, the property they own or if they own a racehorse.

But it is amusing to see Winston hoist on his own petard. I don’t think he has done anything wrong (in this case) but it is a reminder of the old adage about throwing stones in glasshouses. Winston is the last one to lecture on proper disclosures.

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Winston fires – and shoots his own foot off

May 14th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

NZ First MP Winston Peters was booted out of Parliament after claiming Justice Minister Judith Collins failed to declare travel costs paid for by the Chinese government.

For days, Peters has been claiming he has a smoking gun that would see Prime Minister John Key sack Collins.

But in farcical scenes during Question Time, it took several attempts for him to make the allegations, as he was blocked by Speaker David Carter.

His stumbling caused Key to remark: ”I don’t understand the information that the member has got or the allegation… if the member could just speak a bit more clearly it might help everyone including the media.”

Stumbling is a polite term for it.

Eventually Peters tabled a cabinet report which he says show Collins failed to list ”substantial” travel, accommodation and other costs met by China in the MPs register of pecuniary interests. He said Key knew about the contributions. 

This is hilarious. The revelation that the host Government picks up internal travel costs of visiting Ministers, is about as much as a surprise that you get wet if it is raining.

It isn’t entirely clear if Ministers need to declare every overseas trip they undertake. Standing Orders say:

the information referred to in subclause (1)(a) does not have to be included in the return if the travel costs or accommodation costs (as the case may be) were paid by … any government, parliament, or international parliamentary organisation, if the primary purpose of the travel was in connection with an official parliamentary visit.

It is best to err on the side of caution and include all trips, but any omission is a minor issue. The trips are announced publicly when undertaken. Absolutely no one is surprised that the host Government picks up internal travel costs.

Several articles on Winston’s misfire.

Jane Clifton writes:

It was less the promised “smoking gun” than a dribbling water pistol, but Winston Peters made sure to get himself turfed out of Parliament yesterday to ensure his allegations about Judith Collins made the news one way or another. …

John Armstrong writes:

‘And pick up your smoking gun on the way out.” It was quite simply the killer interjection; one containing just the right amount of sarcasm to really get under the skin of its target. Or – more accurately in this case – loser.

You do not usually associate that word with Winston Peters. But his promise to dish more dirt – sorry, fresh information – on Judith Collins, such that she would be “gone by Monday”, was a dismal failure in Parliament yesterday.

It must have been especially galling for Peters that the paralysing interjection came from his one-time New Zealand First colleague, Tau Henare. The pair fell out when the National-New Zealand First coalition government fell apart in 1998.

Best quip of the month.

Andrea Vance reports on why Winston was slurring so much. he had the flu!

NZ First leader Winston Peters has blamed the flu, after he turned in a shambling performance in Parliament yesterday and MPs questioned his health.

The veteran politician, 69, displayed shaking hands and slurred speech as he attempted to catch out Prime Minister John Key with new allegations about Justice Minister Judith Collins.

And at a media conference after he was ejected from the House, Peters was sweating profusely, wiping his face with a handkerchief.

A spokeswoman later said that he was suffering from the flu.

The flu can be very nasty and take weeks to recover from. It’s not something that disappears in 24 hours. So it will be interesting to see if Winston has recovered today.

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Peters v Geddis

May 9th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters is disputing leading lawyers’ views that his party’s rule to fine MP’s who jump ship up to $300,000 is unenforceable.

The rule was was inserted into NZ First’s constitution after Brendan Horan was ejected from the party in late 2012 but refused to resign from Parliament. However it is yet to be ratified.

Constitutional law expert Andrew Geddis of Otago University has said the rule has no legal foundation while public law expert Matthew Palmer pointed out that once an MP left a party they were no longer bound by its constitution.

“With the greatest respect to Mr Geddis, he doesn’t know anything about this stuff”, Mr Peters said this morning.

Yeah, Andrew knows nothing at all on electoral law – apart from writing the textbook used in pretty much every university in New Zealand.

Andrew blogs on why Winston is wrong, and he is right here.

No doubt if NZ First ever tries to enforce their clause and lose in court, Winston will claim the Judges all got it wrong also.

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Taxpayers’ Union welcomes $158,000 paid back

April 1st, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Taxpayers’ Union has welcomed the very overdue news:

The Taxpayers’ Union has warmly welcomed the decision of Winston Peters and the New Zealand First Party to pay back the $158,000 the party owes the taxpayer.

Executive Director Jordan Williams has said “On behalf of our members and supporters, we congratulate Winston Peters for his show of leadership in deciding to pay back the $158,000. It’s a principled decision that reflects well on New Zealand First”

“While some commentators may be churlish at the length of time it has taken to arrange repayment, we believe the maxim ‘better late than never’ definitely applies in this case.”

The $158,000 debt relates to parliamentary spending by the New Zealand First Party in 2005, that the Auditor-General found to be unauthorised and illegal. All other parties repaid their unauthorised spending prior to the 2008 election.

With NZ First rising in the polls, this news will push them up even further.

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Winston wanting to steal the cathedral off the Anglican Church

March 15th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Press reports:

Restoration of the Christ Church Cathedral could be a condition of any post-election coalition deal, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says.

The potential power is going to his head. This is like saying a condition of any coalition deal could be the confiscation of the building owned by Mrs Smith-Jones of Lower Hutt.

The cathedral is owned by the Anglican Church. Politicians vowing to force them to restore it, rather than replace it, are effectively saying we wish to steal it from the Church and make ourselves the owners so we can decide what is done with it.

He told The Press restoration of the cathedral would “certainly” be part of coalition talks with the Government if he secured enough votes in the September election.

“I’ve already given a written commitment that I would raise this in any negotiations,” he said.

“I am seriously committed to this project. It means much more than just the cathedral.”

Peters was “very, very confident” a deal could be reached.

I’m very confident it can’t be, unless Peters think parties will agree to a law change stealing the cathedral off the church. The church has already made a decision.

Peters said he did not understand why Bishop Victoria Matthews did not want to restore the building.

“I don’t understand how the specialness of this building is not grasped. I don’t want to open a personal feud with the bishop, but on this matter she is seriously wrong. I’m not Anglican and I’m from the North Island, but that’s my view.”

So maybe you should shut the fuck up on it then? Only Anglicans living in Christchurch get to decide.

Anglican church spokesman Jayson Rhodes said Peters’ comments suggested “the cathedral be taken off the Anglican church”.

He said it was surprising that Peters had not spoken to the church trustees who had made a decision based on “issues including building resilience and cost”.

Peters’ suggestion that the land was gifted to the church by European settlers was wrong.

“It was Anglicans giving to Anglicans.”

Just bullshit grandstanding.

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It’s like a teen drama!

March 12th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stacey Kirk at Stuff reports:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has dismissed suggestions of a cooling in relations between his party and the Greens, saying the Greens would be the obvious first choice for Labour to strike a coalition with.

Yesterday, Cunliffe refused to say whether he would negotiate with the Greens before NZ First.

But today he appeared to back down from those statements, dismissing speculation that tension had arisen between the two allies.

Well Cunliffe not only distanced himself from the Greens, but described Winston as a good guy. That’s a great deal of enthusiasm for him. I guess he regards lying to the media, public and Parliament over his knowledge of the Owen Glenn donation doesn’t stop him being a good guy.

The backdown comes after the Greens lodged an official complaint with Labour over outspoken MP Shane Jones’ attacks on the party.

Yesterday, Cunliffe said he would work with whatever cards the voters delivered after the September 20 election.

“That may indeed quite likely be with the Greens, it may well be with Winston first … NZ First.”

But he would not say the Greens would be his first choice, saying there was “no preordained order”.

This morning, he told Firstline talking with the Greens first was the logical step, if in a position to form a Government.

The Greens are somewhat terrified that Labour will lock them out of Government if Winston demands it as the price of his support. And what could they do about it? Vote for a National-led Government? Of course not. They’d have to just swallow the butter medicine.

The reality is that it looks incredibly improbable that Labour and Greens will have enough seats by themselves to form a Government after the election. Even a bauble to Hone won’t get them over the line. They’ll need Winston and as he has the option of going with National (which the Greens do not), he has all the power.

UPDATE: And looking even worse for the Greens, as Peters says they can’t win without him and his policy is to rule them out:

Winston Peters doesn’t think a Labour/Greens coalition can win the September 20 election.

Chris Trotter thinks they can’t win also. Back to Peters:

Mr Peters says Labour’s strategists must be worried because they must know they can’t win with the Greens.

“They know full well that those two parties can’t get up in this election,” he said on Radio New Zealand.

“Some people should get their hard hats on, because together they won’t make it.”

Before the 2005 election Mr Peters ruled out working with the Greens in a coalition government, and says his position hasn’t changed since then.

But he didn’t rule it out.

“We are six months out from an election and from what we have heard thus far our position has not changed from 2005 on the Greens,” he said.

“However, they’ve got six months in which they might make changes, so you can’t rule that out.”

The Greens are not going to change their policies in the next six months to appease Peters. So if he holds the balance of power, he will block the Greens from Government as a price of support for Labour.

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Fighting on the left

March 11th, 2014 at 3:10 pm by David Farrar

Vernon Small writes:

The Greens have lodged a formal complaint with Labour over outspoken MP Shane Jones’ attacks on the party.

They’ve complained because an MP from another party criticised them? Who is being thin skinned now?

It comes as the Northland-based list MP faced a ticking off from leader David Cunliffe this morning over his anti-Green comments as well as for straying into other MPs’ areas of responsibility.

It is understood the Green’s chief of staff Ken Spagnolo invoked the official mechanism for airing disputes with Labour’s new chief of staff Matt McCarten and it will be on the agenda of the next top level meeting between the two allies.

Good to see them focusing on the big issues. Again, imagine how they’ll be going running a Government!

Green co-leader Russel Norman said he imagined the matter would be dealt with at chief of staff level.

But he said Labour was obviously had some “internal issues” to deal with.

Just a few!

”There’s clearly some people like Shane Jones within Labour who are uncomfortable about protecting the environment and embracing our clean energy future. but … the Greens know what we are doing and why we’re here.”

Wait, isn’t this a personal attack on Shane Jones? Maybe Jones should complain also through their dispute process!

Meanwhile NewstalkZB report:

Labour leader David Cunliffe says the Greens won’t necessarily be the first cab off the rank if he’s in a position to form a Government after the election.

The translation is he’ll sacrifice them for Winston if Winston asks for it. Poor Greens – 18 years in Parliament and no baubles for them.

There was another oops in David Cunliffe’s life earlier this morning when he referred to his possible coalition partner New Zealand First as ‘Winston First’.

“Winston’s a good guy but I’m not doing coalition negotiations before the vote and we will work with whatever cards the voters put on the table. That may indeed quite likely will be with the Greens, it may well be with Winston First.”

I’m very pleased to see the official Kiwiblog term for New Zealand First catching on!!

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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.

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Winston still lying

February 22nd, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

One of the nastier aspects of the character of Peters is a total inability to admit he got it wrong. He will defend a lie to the last. He did it with Owen Glenn, and he is now doing it with Huka Lodge. The sad thing is that there may be 5% of New Zealanders who think he is telling the truth and that everyone else is lying.

Stuff reports:

Winston Peters is standing by his claim that one of New Zealand’s most famous tourist lodges is being sold, despite both the owner and the Government saying it is not.

During his state of the nation speech in Takapuna yesterday, Mr Peters claimed Huka Lodge, near Taupo, was being sold to Chinese interests, to gasps from some of the hundreds of North Shore Grey Power members listening.

It was one of his more blatant racist attacks. Huka Lodge is owned by a Dutch company on behalf of Alex van Heeren who is the honorary counsel for East and West Flanders and Antwerp and a former Dutch honorary counsel to New Zealand. He is not a New Zealander, but a foreign businessman who spends most of his time abroad.

When Huka Lodge was sold to van Heeren (under Labour in 2003), did Peters say a word aboutt foreign investment or ownership? No. Then he invents a story abour it being sold to Chinese investors, with the clear message that this would be wrong and evil. His message isn’t that foreign ownership is bad. His message is that it is okay for white foreigners to own assets in New Zealand, but awful if Asian foreigners buy things.

It is racism pure and simple. It is designed to whip up hostility to people who look Asian, regardless of whether or not they are foreigners or New Zealand born. The message it sends is if you are an Asian New Zealander, you are a second class citizen.

Afterwards he cited real estate sources for his comments. “My informant says John Key has said to these people: ‘Don’t worry about it, we’ll smooth it through the Overseas Investment Office’.”

If any politician should be suing for defamation, it should be John Key.

Later, Peters modified his claim to say the lodge was for sale.

First of all he claimed explicitly it had been sold. With that proven to be a lie, he does not apologise or retract. He invents a new lie. The owners of Huka Lodge have clearly said it is not on the market.

One could give Peters some benefit of the doubt that he believed the so called informant and is just so lazy and unconcerned with the truth, that he repeated an unproven allegation as fact because that’s the sort of politician he his. That’s the best case scenario. But now when confronted with the fact that it has not been sold, and the owner says it is not for sale, he chooses to maintain the lie, and amend it, rather than accept he said something false.

It’s the same behaviour as with the Owen Glenn donation. The evidence before the Privileges Committee proved beyond any doubt he lied dozens of times, yet he still insists he didn’t.

“The Overseas Investment Office has spoken to Huka Lodge director and shareholder David McGregor, and he has confirmed no sale has been made or is being considered,” Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson said, not long after Mr Key’s office said the prime minister would never become involved in OIO applications even if one were in train.

Huka Lodge director of global sales and marketing Louise Smythe rejected the claim.

“None of it is true, no,” she said.

But Peters was unrepentant last night, accusing the OIO of having become a “political pawn”.

A pawn in a sale that only exists with the help of drugs or alcohol.

Such was the paperwork involved, the OIO may not know the status of the sale, Peters said.

“It’s for sale.”

So is Peters saying the owner is a liar, or saying that somehow you can sell something without the owner knowing anything about it?

I’m not one of those who says the media should not report on Peters, because they have to. But what the media can do is say this case proves that they should only report on opinions of Peters, but if Peters in future states something as a fact (such as WINZ has a fleet of BMWs, or Huka Lodge has been sold to the Chinese) they should not print the alleged fact until they have verified it. And if the fact is untrue, then don’t give his lies media space. He knows that 5% of the population will believe a lie if he tells it. It’s the old saying you can fool some of the population, all of the time.

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Winston lies and pushes racism

February 21st, 2014 at 3:30 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has claimed the world-famous Huka Lodge near Taupo has been sold to Chinese buyers and suggested Prime Minister John Key had a hand in smoothing the process.

Mr Peters made the claim during his state of the nation address on Auckland’s North Shore this afternoon.

“While you’re here media, let me tell you something, Huka Lodge has just been sold to the Chinese … and I want you to go and ask John Key what role you had in this?

“Was it not true, Mr Key, that you assured them `there won’t be a problem, we’ll smooth it out for you’.”

But Winston lied. Outraegously.

Any other political leader who made up a claim like this, and just flat out lied, would be crucified by the media. But Winston gets away with it. He lied that it had been sold. He lied that it was on the market, and he lied that the PM was involved.

Just as bad, he is doing his normal anti-Asian racism. I understand the current owner was born in Holland. Even if the sale was true, why is it okay for someone born in Holland to own Hula Lodge, but not someone born in China? Its racism.

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Where Key got his info from

February 13th, 2014 at 7:06 pm by David Farrar

I’m enjoying the belief some have expressed that because John Key repeats something (that Winston had visited the Dotcom mansion three times) five days after the Herald printed it, that he must have found this out via the GCSB.

That is completely and totally rubbish.

He got told by Barack Obama over golf, and Obama found out from the NSA satellite permanently focused on following Kim Dotcom about.

That is far far more likely that the possibility that the Prime Minister actually reads the NZ Herald!

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Kim’s little helpers

February 13th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Has been fascinating to look at the nexus between certain MPs and Kim Dotcom. We now know some MPs have had multiple meetings with him at his mansion (lesser mortals visit MPs in their offices, but for Dotcom they flock to his mansion), and the same MPs have asked multiple questions about his case in Parliament. And again at least one of those MPs is vowing to fight his extradition – even if the NZ Courts find he should be extradited. And finally, we have learnt that Dotcom will wind up his political party during the election campaign and endorse one or more other parties – no doubt those who have been helping him so much.

So who have been Kim’s little helpers. I’ve searched the parliamentary database and these MPs have asked multiple questions on his behalf or about his case.

  • Trevor Mallard – 132 questions (128 written, 4 oral)
  • Winston Peters – 82 questions (71 written, 11 oral)
  • David Shearer – 36 questions (22 written, 14 oral)
  • Grant Robertson – 17 questions (15 oral, 2 written)
  • Russel Norman – 13 questions (7 written, 6 oral)

We know that Mallard has met with Dotcom, Peters has been to his mansion three times and Norman at least twice. Norman can’t recall whose idea the meetings were.

Audrey Young has written on how Peters is back to his Owen Glenn tricks and refusing to answer questions about his taxpayer funded trips to talk to Dotcom. Many a wag has suggested he should wave the NO sign up when asked if Dotcom has donated to his party or him.

John Armstrong also writes on the issue:

It is bad enough that the Greens are naive enough to sign up to the fan club which accords Kim Dotcom the folk hero status he clearly craves, but scarcely deserves as some modern-day Robin Hood of cyberspace.

Much worse, however, is that it now turns out that party is blithely willing to play politics with New Zealand’s courts, the country’s extradition laws and its extradition treaty with the United States.

Were John Key to allow some right-wing businessman facing extradition to stay in New Zealand in exchange for him abandoning his plans to establish a political party which might drain votes off National, then the Greens would be climbing on their high horses at break-neck speed and leading the charge in slamming the Prime Minister in no uncertain terms. And rightly so.

Indeed.

By appearing to countenance such a massive conflict of interest through political interference in Dotcom’s potential ejection from New Zealand, Norman has instantly disqualified his party from having any ministerial posts in a coalition with Labour which involve responsibility for the extradition process.

In fact, Norman has probably disqualified his party from having any role in the Justice portfolio full stop.

That’s a win for New Zealand!

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Peters right on this one

February 5th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has taken the rare step of going into bat for the Prime Minister over Waitangi Day protests, saying those who use the occasion to shout and disrupt the Prime Minister’s attendance at Te Tii Marae are “crapping on their own heritage”.

Prime Minister John Key is to be welcomed on to Te Tii Marae today and has said he expects protests, having been grabbed and shouted down in previous years.

The initial signs that this year would also be restive came yesterday when the Governor-General was shouted at and there was a scuffle between protester Hinewhare Harawira and marae elders at the door of the meeting house.

If the PM announced he would never attend Waitangi Day at Te Tii Marae again, he’d probably go up 10% in the polls.

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Quote of the Week

February 5th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Mr Key also ruled out any chance that a coalition with NZ First could result in its leader Winston Peters becoming prime minister for a portion of the term if he did stand down.

“To paraphrase a lovely turn of phrase I read in the paper yesterday, about as much chance as Amanda Knox holidaying in Italy. Zero.”

I love it.

This is now the third story from the Herald that has mentioned this fantasy scenario. I am awaiting the stories where they ask the Prime Minister to rule out genocide in Invercargill, if that is demanded as a coalition condition. They are equally credible.

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Australia vs NZ with exports to China

February 3rd, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

I blogged a few days ago on the extraordinary growth in exports to China in the years since we signed a free trade agreement with them, and said people should recall those who voted against it.

A reader asked if Australia had also experienced the same levels of growth in exports to China, and hence is it just that China is growing and importing now, or did the FTA make a difference.

It’s a good question, especially as Russel Norman often claims that the growth in exports to China has nothing to do with the FTA, and hence their opposition to it wouldn’t really have cost us tens of billions of dollars if their view had prevailed.

So I’ve looked at the value of exports to China for both Australia and NZ from 2008 to the year ending June 2013 (the last year Australia has reported on).

Australia exported A$37.1b in 2008 and $78.4b in 2012/13. That’s an increase of 111% or an average of 24.7% a year approx. Pretty good and there is no doubt China’s growth is leading to more exports generally.

But look at NZ in the same period, from when the FTA was signed and came into effect. In 2008 exports were NZ$2.5 billion and in 2012/13 were $7.7b. That’s growth of 205% or 45.4% a year – almost double Australia’s.

So if NZ export growth to China had followed Australia’s export growth for the last five years, what would be the difference? Around $6.6 billion.

Now it is overly simplistic to say the difference is solely the FTA. We have different export profiles. But I think there can be little doubt that the cost of Green and NZ First policies to our exporters would have been well into the billions of dollars.

The sad thing is not that they were wrong, but that they don’t admit they were wrong. Those who once opposed Nelson Mandela being released and opposed decriminalizing consensual same sex relations, generally admit today they were wrong, and on the wrong side of history. But the Greens and NZ First refuse to accept that their opposition to the China Free Trade Agreement was wrong, despite the billions of dollars in extra exports NZ has gained since we signed it.

The sad reality is that the Greens just do not like trade full stop, and NZ First just doesn’t like Asians full stop. That is their motivation to their opposition to the free trade agreement, rather than any rational analysis of what is good for NZ.

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Horan says Peters is a bad employer

January 30th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

3 News reports:

Independent MP Brendan Horan has claimed in parliament that two NZ First researchers were unfairly sacked on the basis of hearsay. …

Mr Horan claimed NZ First had breached employment laws and said he wanted to know what the party’s MPs were going to do about that.

“How can anyone in that party speak on workers’ rights and be taken seriously,” he said.

Winston isn’t known for worrying about minor concepts such as due process or a fair hearing.

 

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Drug use spreads at the Herald

January 29th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald continues with the fantasy that there in a parallel universe in which National might agree to make Winston Peters Prime Minister.

Audrey Young writes:

John Key this morning scoffed at speculation that National might consider any power-sharing arrangement with New Zealand First leader Winston Peters as though it were complete fantasy.

Scoffed? This is the equivalent of asking if there are little green men on the moon. It is complete fantasy.

But the notion is not that off-the-planet that is hasn’t been contemplated. Here’s some of the context.

Back in 1996, at the final stages of coalition negotiations, NZ First asked Labour for a power sharing arrangement in which Peters would be Prime Minister for some of the term and Helen Clark the other.

I’m sure Winston did ask for it in 1996, or someone on his behalf did. He may have asked for the Crown Jewels also. The issue isn’t that of course Winston wants to be PM. The issue is whether a party that gets 5% of the vote would ever get their leader made PM.

It was instantly rejected by Labour.

Of course it was. So what makes anyone think that if a party on 28% of the vote instantly rejected making the leader of a party that got 13% of the vote Prime Minister, that a party looking to get 45% of the vote would make the leader of a party that gets say 5% of the vote prime minister?

Herald correspondent John Armstrong raised the power-sharing issue at the weekend in his political column following Key’s decision last week to lift his ban on working with NZ First post-election.

In light of John’s column, I asked the Prime Minister this morning if he would rule out a power-sharing deal and he said “that’s not on the table.”

Pressed further, he said ”No, Winston Peters won’t become Prime Minister.”

ZB’s Barry Soper asked him if it were put on the table, would he consider it, and Key said No.

I look forward to the Herald asking the leaders of National and Labour if they would agree to declare war on Australia, if NZ First ask for it. Also ask them if they would agree to sacrifice their eldest child to Lord Xenu, and become Scientologists if NZ First asked for it. All there scenarios are equally likely – ie zero.

Now I’m quite happy to stand by my certainty. The odds of Elvis being alive are 1000 to 1. I’m happy to offer the same odds against National ever making Winston Peters Prime Minister – 1000 to 1. The only criteria are you must pledge at least $500 (so I would pay out $500,000) and you must pay the $500 immediately to me, and I will pay the $500,000 on the day Peters is sworn in as Prime Minister, backed by National.

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