“Since the formation of NZ First, we have assiduously at all times complied with the electoral law of this country.” (Source.)
Some of us have been prepared, even in the face of growing incredulity, to let the processes of the law take their course before pronouncing judgement on Winston Peters. You know, innocent until proven guilty, a cornerstone of our legal system.
As a result we cannot be accused of incorrectly accusing him of lying when he said “NO”, the large donation to NZ First revealed by party president Dail Jones did not come from Owen Glenn. Nor of incorrectly accusing him of lying when he said that donations from Sir Robert Jones reached NZ First. Others can be.
However, NZ First’s repeated failure to declare donations from the Spencer Trust is difficult to fathom and impossible to excuse. A complaint having been made, the Police must expeditiously decide whether to lay charges; and this time, ignoring a blantant breach of the Electoral Act would be unforgiveable.
Further, Peters must have known that NZ First had not been complying with its legal requirements on disclosure when he howled time and again that it was “assiduously at all times” doing so. After all, it was the Party’s failure to comply that gave rise to these controversies. Peters must have known about the failure to comply. He must have been lying.
Despite the touching faith in provincial lawyers’ and accountants’ competence displayed by a kiwiblog commenter and retailed by right-wing blogs, it is possible that amateurism is at the root of Peters’ problems. (Or, looked at another way, provided the ammunition to mount a campaign to eliminate him.)
Peters and NZ First stand condemned not of excepting large anonymous donations — theirs pale into insignificance compared to National’s — or of keeping these secret through shady trust funds — ditto — or even of making mistakes in declaring incomes or expenses in the recent past — eveybody is guilty of that. But of lying about it.
There is now more than enough proven to justify cutting Peters loose.