So many articles, so where to start. First is the Herald editorial on racing:
When Winston Peters was appointed Racing Minister in 2005, he was warmly welcomed by leaders of the industry. “He’s going to be good for racing,” said high-profile breeder Sir Patrick Hogan. Even he, however, may not have realised the degree of beneficence.
To the contrary it is possible the degree of beneficence was precisely known!
Then we have Fran O’Sullivan who calls Peters a coward basically:
If Winston Peters was man enough he would apologise to leading New Zealand political journalists for the outrageous way he attacked them for questioning whether Labour’s major donor Owen Glenn had contributed anonymous funds to New Zealand First.
New Zealand now knows the vile allegations and innuendo that Peters accused journalists of spreading early this year were not that far off the mark. But Peters’ continuing reliance on bravado and counter-punches instead of confronting the real issues means his political reputation is punctured.
Peters actually suggested the NZ Herald had fabricated the e-mail from Owen Glenn.
It’s abundantly clear that Peters’ political interests and those of his party have been served by plenty of cash from wealthy donors, contrary to the public picture he has painted.
The claims he made early this year that New Zealand First had had no big-business backing since its inception have been exposed as fatuous.
Indeed, it is quite possible the NZ First receives a greater proportion of its income from big business than any other party, if you include the Spencer Trust and Brian Henry in the mix.
The cost of the Selwyn Cushing lawsuit has been estimated to be $445,000. Where did the money for that come from?
But unfortunately the Peters donations furore does obscure the real scandal the NZ First leader continues to duck. The party’s refusal to send a cheque to the Crown for the $158,000 in unlawful spending at the 2005 election is breathtakingly cynical.
Doling out this money – which rightfully belongs in taxpayer’s coffers – to a swag of unnamed charities doesn’t cut it for a politician who made his name on challenging commercial malfeasance. He should not be let off the hook.
Indeed. And now John Armstrong:
He answered questions with questions. He deemed questions which he considered outside the committee’s terms of reference to be irrelevant and therefore not to be answered.
It was less the Spanish Inquisition and more like A Game of Two Halves.
As always, everyone else made allowance for Peters’ verbal pugilism – just as the teams on the television sports quiz tolerate Matthew Ridge’s exhibitionism. MPs are so accustomed to Peters’ stroppiness that no one on the committee would have found his behaviour out of the ordinary.
Yet any member of the public delivering the string of insults to committee members which Peters did would have been called to order.
Peters claims of a Spanish inquisition just shows how unused he is to the idea of accountability. He has for 15 years run his party without question. He has secret trust funds which his staff solicit money for, and his party president and deputy leader know nothing about.
He was not bound by the normal laws of politics. He freely broke them without penalty. That has changed – dramatically so in the last month as NZ First has been found to be as solicitous of donations from the wealthy as other parties that it so long accused of being venal and corrupt.
If Peters tries to take the moral high ground again, then laughter is the only appropriate response.
The Dim-Post also sums things up well:
What is interesting about this arrangement is that Brian Henry is a scion of the famous Henry family who, along with the Fletcher’s and the Todd’s, were one of the wealthiest and most influential industrial dynasty’s in New Zealand history. Wikipedia has an extensive entry on the family.
So this is yet another case of Peter’s benefiting from the largese of the super-rich, a group he still claims to be waging a one man war against. There’s no way of knowing the value of Mr Henry’s legal services to Peters over the years but it seems reasonable to assume the amount runs to many hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Winston Peter’s claims to have been the prey of a conspiracy of secretive, elite businessmen but with the New Zealand First leader recieving clandestine donations from Owen Glenn, the Vela family and Sir Robert Jones and free legal services from an industralist heir it looks more and more as if Mr Peters is a member of a covert super-rich conspiracy rather than a victim.
What more can one say?