Paul Gallagher writes about defence by parliamentary technicality and says Margaret Wilson’s hands were tied by standing orders today.
She didn’t have much in the way of options when presented with a claim of sub judicae from Winston Peters.
With patience, Rodney Hide’s tenacity will hopefully see to it that these matters are properly and extensively investigated. He shouldn’t misdirect his frustration into challenging the Speaker. He should instead renew his pressure on Peters with even more vigour. Biding his time may offer Hide more time to consolidate his position.
And if the reliance on sub judicae is found to be unreasonable, Peters may have just managed this afternoon to dig himself a deeper, more hazardous hole.
And what was Hide trying to discolse today? Grant Flemming writes:
ACT leader Rodney Hide has made explosive allegations that New Zealand First was paid off by Simunovich Fisheries to stop leader Winston Peters making corruption claims against it.
The allegations, made under parliamentary privilege, revolve around Simunovich Fisheries, which was at the centre of a 2003 parliamentary committee inquiry into the allocation of quota for a crustacean called scampi.
. . . Mr Hide’s allegations, included in questions to Prime Minister Helen Clark on the Government’s stance on corruption, included:
– that a businessmen had told The Dominion Post newspaper he was one of several people Simunovich boss Peter Simunovich had given cheques of $9999 in 2002 to pass on to NZ First in return for Mr Peters stopping allegations of wrongdoing by Simunovich Fisheries and he had said that “sure enough within a couple of weeks Winston Peters did shut up”;
– that a statement from the businessman, who was now afraid for his safety, had been passed on to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO);
– that the businessman claimed Mr Peters had gone to meet Mr Simunovich to discuss the evidence of corruption and had stated that for a payment of $50,000 “we would just slowly get rid of it”;
– that the businessman had kept the bank records.
Peters said the claims were baseless and formed the basis of a defamation case.
Mr Peters later attempted to ask his own question, which appeared to suggest there may have been cheques NZ First had received from some individuals or groups but never cashed.
“If there was a subsequent series of cheques, paid some substantial time later, despite the fact that there was an inquiry in this house that concerned a business and, here’s the relevant point, those cheques were never cashed.”
Mr Peters was then cut off by Ms Wilson on the basis that Mr Peters himself had claimed the matter was sub judice.
These are very serious allegations which must be investigated because it’s not only Winston Peters’ career at stake, it’s New Zealand’s reputation for the absence of corruption.
Hat tip: Keeping Stock