The Herald reports that horse trainer Paul Moroney has backed up Owen Glenn’s version of his part in the New Zealand First donations debacle.
Mr Moroney said in an affidavit to Parliament’s Privileges Committee today that he was at a lunch at Karaka in 2006 at which Winston Peters thanked Mr Glenn for his help.
Mr Glenn has also produced a phone record from 14 December 2005 showing that he called Mr Peters’ mobile, a conversation that Mr Glenn says was to “inform him that I agreed to contribute”.
He also said he had consulted with Labour Party president Mike Williams before contributing so to make sure it would not be seen by Labour as “being unhelpful to its own interests”.
Mr Moroney in his affidavit said that on 31 January 2006 he was at the lunch at Karaka with Mr Glenn and Mr Peters.
He stated: “During the luncheon discussion, part of the conversation between Mr Peters and Mr Glenn involved Mr Peters thanking Mr Glenn for his help to him.
“Mr Glenn had told me before the lunch that he was meeting Mr Peters over the lunch, because he had made a donation to assist Mr Peters fund his legal expenses concerning the Tauranga election result. I recall Mr Glenn telling me that Mr Peters had contacted him to ask for his help with this.”
The committee is yet to hear Peters’ response and regardless of what they find the court of public opinion might be more interested in what Glenn said before he appeared:
Mr Glenn earlier today indicated he was offended by the way he had been treated by Mr Peters and Prime Minister Helen Clark, who he told of the donation in February. Helen Clark did not reveal she was told until recently, instead saying she took Mr Peters at his word that he had not been given a donation.
Asked if he was offended, Mr Glenn said “well, wouldn’t you be?”
He said he was keen to clear the air, but had a “clear conscience” over his role in giving the donation, and it was up to Mr Peters to deal with the legalities of it as the recipient.
“I’m not responsible for [Mr Peters.] I did what I did and I’ve got a clear conscience. I didn’t even know what the rules of engagement were for receiving donations.”
Mr Glenn has previously donated to the Labour Party, including $500,000 in 2005 and an interest-free loan of $100,000 subsequently.
He would not rule out donating to political parties again, but indicated a change in the personalities involved would be required.
“One thing about politicians – they come and go.”
He said he was saddened it had come to a question of his honesty, saying it was “like a school yard squabble.”
“I would have thought our MPs would behave in a better manner all round. They should be running the country. I think New Zealanders have a right to be better represented.”
That’s a very sad indictment on everyone involved in the whole debacle.
[Update: Tim Donoghue from the Dominion Post covers Glenn’s evidence here.