Peters unrepetent

There is now no doubt the e-mail published by the NZ Herald was not a forgery. And few would doubt that the publishing of that led to the revelation that Winston Peters had personally benefited by a $100,000 donation from Owen Glenn to his legal costs.

Anyone with has campaigned on transparency would say that the NZ Herald has done nothing wrong in publishing a true e-mail which resulted in the public gaining knowledge about a secret donation.

So I, and others, was wondering about whether Winston Peters would be man enough to apologise to Audrey Young for calling her a liar, and maybe even to her editor Tim Murphy for calling for them both to be sacked.

Alas the Herald on Sunday reports:

Yesterday Peters renewed calls for Murphy and Young to “do their duty and resign”.

Isn’t that incredible? The man literally has no shame.

Anyway NZ First is now officially the party in favour of large secret donations to top up MPs pay. No, seriously. This is what Brian Henry said:

He said politicians were “poorly paid” and needed donations, and he would continue to fundraise.

“They’ve got a temporary job, and they can’t afford litigation. They just don’t have the money.”

Yes Winston is very poorly paid on $200,000 or so a year. And his poor temporary job has only lasted 27 weeks. I’m sorry I mean 27 years (out of the last 30).

And as for being able to afford litigation. Well I’m sympathethic to MPs who get sued doing their job and need help with the costs of defending a lawsuit. But it is worth nothing that of Winston’s 14 law suits – almost all are him suing other people – not getting sued.

Audrey Young blogs yesterday:

Here at the party convention at Alexander Park he has held perhaps the most graceless press conference he has ever held, and that takes some beating.

And No, to the dozens of inquiries: Peters has not apologised for the personal abuse levelled at me last Monday when he employed the bazooka strategy – fire so many missiles at somebody else that people forget what you are supposed to have done. Though I did receive one from a very decent member of the caucus.

There are some decent MPs in NZ First and I suspect they are very distressed to find out that all their railing against secret donations in politics only applies to everyone but their Leader.

I wonder why he was able to find the answer to the Glenn donation question in July when in February after apparently exhaustive questions were asked about the $100,000 Dail Jones thought he had seen in the party’s accounts, no answers were turned up.

This is one of those big unanswered questions. Is the $100,000 donated to Peters’ legal fund in 2006 the same close to $100,000 sum that went into a NZ First account in late 2007. If the money has even temporarily gone through an official NZ First bank account, then there are serious implications.

Bill Ralston has his say:

Winston Peters’ embarrassing admission, despite months of blustering denials, that he had received a $100,000 donation from businessman Owen Glenn poses some real risks, not only for himself but for several other political players. …

Instead, he will be wriggling under reporters’ questions about his party’s murky funding structure and what exactly Glenn may have wanted in return for his generosity.

It is obvious from a leaked letter from Glenn published in the Weekend Herald last week that Glenn clearly believes he is still in the running for the honorary consul-general role in Monaco, a position Peters, as Foreign Minister, has the power to grant.

Peters has said they have not yet decided if they even need a Consul in Monaco. However the Government in 2004 clearly  decided they do not. So why is the Government reviewing a very recent decision, apart from the fact a wealthy donor has said he wants the job?

A good question is what role did Williams play in backing the expensive Tauranga electoral petition after the last election?

It was that legal action, along with 13 cases since 1991, that ran up the legal bill that Glenn helped pay off.

It is understood Williams did a lot of the calculations on election spending by National’s Bob Clarkson that Peters’ lawyers used to try to challenge his election.

There was indeed talk of Williams helping with the unsuccessful petition. Was Mike Williams the person who arranged for Owen Glenn to donate to Winston’s legal expenses?

And finally the Herald on Sunday Editorial:

The trouble with occupying the moral high ground is that the only way out is down. New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has spent the weekend of his party’s 15th-anniversary conference trying to finesse his late, lame admission that expatriate billionaire Owen Glenn did, in fact, make a $100,000 payment, the existence of which Peters has so vehemently denied.

But what is plain is that he did not tell the whole truth about the matter.

Indeed it is only due to the NZ Herald, and other media, that the truth has come out. And Winston’s position is they they should be sacked for having got the truth out of him.

They then post a very valid question:

But why should he know nothing of contributors to funds that assist his personal legal battles? If a Chinese wall is to be erected at all, it would be much more logical that it be around the party accounts, with which Peters appears to have been more familiar than his erstwhile president. And in any case, Glenn’s email makes it plain that he thought he had contributed “to NZ First”.

Yes party leaders should be kept away from the party’s accounts, but it is arguable he actually needs to know who donated to benefit him personally. And make no mistake paying off his legal bills has the same effect as giving him cash directly – a bigger bank balance for Peters.

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