Final, final farewell to Carisbrook


We were at what was supposed to be the final test at Carisbrook when the – All Blacks played Wales last year.

However, Christchurch’s earthquake mounted munted Jade Stadium which gave the ‘Brook a final, final test against Fiji last month.

Rfdunedin reminded me the final inter-provincial between southern rivals, Otago and Southland will be played there today and his memories of its past brought back some of mine.

My first visits were when I was a student, standing on the terrace.

It would have been a couple of decades before I went back in the early days of the Highlanders when it was stacked full of All Blacks – Taine Randell, Jeff Matheson, Tony Brown, Marc Ellis, Josh Kronfeld . . .

There were other rugby tests and some cricket matches too.

But the highlight was watching Otago win the NPC. I think that was John Leslie’s last game for Otago and he was given the ball for the last play of the game which was a kick for a penalty.

A stadium doesn’t make a team but here’s hoping the new Forsyth Barr one creates even more good memories.

For far more informed and detailed memories, Brent Edwards recorded his for the ODT last year.

Tributes to Duncan Laing


ODT Sports editor Brent Edwards pays tribute to Duncan Laing here.

The Sunday Star Times has tributes from Michael Donaldson and Greg Ford.

Predictably they concentrate on the man and his contribution to sport but he also made a huge contribution to the Duendin economy. Edwards recalls Laing teaching his children to swim and says:

“Come on champ, just one more try,” he would say. It could have been his catchcry. Hundreds (or is it thousands?) of Dunedin families could tell a similar story.

But it wasn’t just Dunedin families. Oamaru didn’t have a covered pool when our daughter was young so I used to take her and one of her cousins to Laing’s swimming school in the May and August holidays.

While watching at the poolside I met parents from all over Otago and futher afield doing the same thing.

It wasn’t just the money we spent on lessons, we were also paying for accommodation, food, entrance to other city attractions like the movies and museum and of course some retail therapy.

All those country children learning to swim over all those holidays over all those years must have poured a lot of money into Dunedin and we were all there because of Duncan Laing.

2nd Glenn letter increases heat


A second letter from Owen Glenn to the privileges committee contradicts WInston Peters again.

The letter said: “There is absolutely no doubt that the request came to me from Mr Peters. I would not have made the donation on any other basis through any intermediary. I did not do so.”

It was also revealed today that Mr Glenn will appear in person at the committee on Tuesday.

Implicit in Mr Glenn’s letter is a claim that Mr Peters telephoned Mr Glenn on December 14, 2005 and that Mr Peters’ lawyer Brian Henry followed up the call later that day with an email.

Mr Glenn said in the letter that he gave the authority for the payment instructions to be made on December 20, 2005 to be made to the account of Mr Henry.

“Mr Henry supplied the ASB Bank account details in an email from him addressed to me on Wednesday 14 December 2005,” Mr Glenn’s letter says.

That email from Mr Henry refers to an earlier telephone conversation between me and person Mr Henry refers to as ‘my client’ that same day.”

Mr Henry has given testimony to the privileges committee that he approached Mr Glenn to ask for a donation after being an advised to do so by a client of his, but he has emphatically stated that that client was not Mr Peters.

The committee prevented Mr Peters’ lawyer making a full statement at a hearing today.

Following tense exchanges, lawyer Peter Williams made a truncated presentation to the committee in which he said the decision it makes on New First’s donations should not be made on party lines.

He did not address the specifics of the donation from Mr Glenn to NZ First.

The committee had ruled that the broad statement Mr Williams was intending to make went outside its standing orders.

Mr Peters was present at the hearing but did not make any presentations of his own.

The committee is investigating whether Mr Peters broke Parliament’s rules by failing to declare a $100,000 donation from Mr Glenn towards his legal costs.

In a letter to the committee, made public last week, Mr Glenn said Mr Peters sought the $100,000 donation from him in 2005 and then thanked him for it at the Karaka yearling sales in early 2006.

Mr Peters has said it was his lawyer Brian Henry who approached Mr Glenn.

Parliament’s rules only allow legal counsel to talk about issues of process, but Mr Williams repeatedly argued that contributions to MPs’ legal petitions have never been considered a pecuniary matter.

He was repeatedly warned by committee chair Simon Power, but ignored those warnings and continued to outline Mr Peters’ argument.

After 25 minutes Mr Williams concluded his argument and the committee went into closed session.

Mr Peters has said he had no knowledge of the donation until Mr Henry advised him of it on July 18 this year.

Radio New Zealand’s political editor Brent Edwards is discussing the issue with Kathryn Ryan now. It is on line here.

Glenn will give evidence


Brent Edwards has just given an update on this morning’s meeting of the privileges committee and says Owen Glenn will give evidence to it next Tuesday.

It isn’t clear whether he will appear in person or by video link.

The Morning Report interview is on line here.

Glenn says Peters solicited money


Owen Glenn  has told the privileges committee that Winston Peters asked him for money.

Peters disputes that.

Kathryn Ryan is discussing this with Radio NZ political editor Brent Edwards as I type. It will be on line here later.

There is no doubt there are enough allegations swirling round Peters now for him to have been relieved of his ministerial responsibilities had he been a Labour MP. The need for New Zealand First’s votes has stayed Helen Clark’s hand until now. but the mud which is being thrown at Peters will bog her down too if she allows this to go on much longer.

The allegations are still allegations and Peters maintains they’re wrong but the mud which is being thrown at Peters will bog Clark and Labour down too if she allows this to go on much longer.

Update: The Roarprawn has pointed me at the text of Glenn’s letter which says:

“The payment was made by me to assist funding the legal costs incurred personally by Rt Hon Winston Peters MP concerning his election petition dispute, at his request.

” Mr Peters sought help from me for this purpose in a personal conversation, some time after I had first met him in Sydney.

“I agreed to help in the belief that this step would also assist the Labour Party in its relationship with Mr Peters. I supported the Labour Party.”

Mr Glenn said the conversation had occurred “some time after I had first met him in Sydney” and he had authorised the payment on or about December 20, 2005.

He said Mr Peters had then thanked him at the Karaka yearling sales in early 2006. He did not believe he had ever met or spoken to Mr Henry.

In response Peters says:

… Mr Glenn’s assertion he had personally requested money “does not coincide with my recollections” and he said he believed the “personal conversation” referred to by Mr Glenn was one he had held with Mr Henry.

He also said he believed he had seen Mr Glenn while the two lunched at the same table at the 2007 Karaka sales, rather than in 2006.

Mr Peters said he had not thanked him until after Mr Henry advised him of the payment on July 18.

In response to that we have a contender for the award for stating the obvious:

Committee chairman Simon Power today said the two statements were inconsistent.

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