Rules don’t apply to NZ First?


When Pita Sharples complained that a New Zealand First staff member had heavied the Maori Party over voting against censuring Winston Peters I asked if the staffer was employed by the party or parliamentary services.

Tim Donoghue  has found that the employee was Tommy Gear and:

Mr Gear, who has received hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars from Parliamentary Service for a job many in NZ First know little about, did not return calls yesterday.

I suppose a party that thinks it can get away with not repaying the $158,000 it stole from the public purse before the last election by saying it’s donated the money to charity thinks it can also get away with its staff who are paid by parliamentary services doing its political work too.

Hat Tip: The Hive

Peters’ campaign opening


Winston Peters evidence to the privileges committee sounded more like a campaign speech than a serious attempt to clear his name.

Tim Donoghue and Ann Aitken Worth report:

Embattled MP Winston Peters has told the privileges committee he wants to be judged “by decent New Zealanders who understand justice” and continued to deny soliciting a $100,000 donation.

Mr Peters gave his evidence to the committee with the knowledge his political future hangs on rebutting expatriate billionaire Owen Glenn’s testimony around a $100,000 donation to Mr Peters’ party NZ First.

 . . . Mr Peters said he wished to be judged by decent New Zealanders who understand justice and the essence of democracy.

“Not bias, prejudice and pre-judgement before any of the fact are even known,” Mr Peters said.

Mr Peters said he had spent his whole political life preserving New Zealand for New Zealanders.

“This is an attempt to undo the people’s will, bring down a government, then govern alone. My enemies and an elite media have surely proven that,” Mr Peters said.

The ODT reports:

When he appeared before the committee tonight, Mr Peters did not back down on any of his previous denials – including the press conference in February when he held up a `NO’ sign.

Mr Peters told the committee, again, that there had been no donation to his New Zealand First Party or to him personally.

“The answer than was no, and the answer is still no,” he said.

“At no time was I in any position to answer in any other way.”

But it’s just his word against Glenns’ and Glenn had phone records and witnesses.

Peters just had his oft-used appeal to New Zealanders and the people to help him defeat his enemies and the media – and in his eyes the media are part of the enemy.




Trainer heard Peters thank Glenn


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.

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