End in sight for Winnie?

Like a b-grade horror movie monster, Winston Peters has stalked the NZ political scene for decades, crawling back out of the slime at the edge of the frame whenever we thought him done for, to terrorise more innocent folk.

Could he finally have reached the end? You know, been dropped into the firey volcano or shot into deep space with no space suit? (Sorry for getting side-tracked here, but these are such comforting images.)

Turns out that private emails show that Owen Glenn gave NZ First money. And when multi-billionaire Owen Glenn’s involved, we’re not talking loose change. (At a dinner to celebrate his $7m donation to the University of Auckland Business School he said cheerily that he would have given $10m had he been asked for that much.)

Here’s the February 2008 exchange between Glenn and Steve Fisher, his PR man, following a Herald report on Glenn’s political donations:

Fisher: Our plan worked well. There is nothing new about you in here Owen. Note that Winston says you have never made a donation to NZ First, so at all costs you must stick to that line. It was definitely the right thing to do to deny the Maori party offer as well.

Glenn: Steve, are you saying I should deny giving a donation to NZ First?? When I did?

Fisher: No, just stick to the line of referring stuff to NZ First. What I’m saying is we don’t want to contradict Winston.

This spells trouble for Winston. Earlier this year, then NZ First president Dail Jones said that an anonymous donation — “closer to $100,000” than $10,000 — had appeared in the party’s accounts last year. Peters denied this, saying it was an aggregation of smaller donations, and famously holding up a “No” sign when questioned about the donation(s).

But there are more serious questions still. Farrar pulls no punches in his post on this: “… confirmation directly from Owen Glenn that he did donate to NZ First – despite Winston Peters denying it, and NZ First filing a donations return which said it received no donation over $10,000.”

Farrar also canvasses various scenarios in which Peters may not have lied. The most obvious is that Glenn loaned Peters the money, the interest foregone coming to less than the $10,000 that would have had to be declared. While most of us would see the interest foregone as a donation, including Glenn, others may not; Glenn would have got or expected his money back if it were a loan.

Farrar says this is “difficult to reconcile” with the known facts. I disagee. Remember, Glenn did loan Labour a similar amount. So, Winston may, once again, rise out of the swamp. But when Farrar says there must be an investigation, its hard to disagree.

Update: The Standard points out, amongst other things, that if Glenn (or his associates I might add) did donate a large sum to NZ First, Peters didn’t lie as a Minister, and nor did he mislead the House.
Peters remains tight-lipped.
The heat goes on Peters, with John Key — the man Peters is likely to be talking to first after the election — calling for an investigation. Happy Bastille Day, Winnie!

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10 Responses to “End in sight for Winnie?”

  1. Inventory2 Says:

    The Baubleator (as No Minister christened him last night) is in trouble here. When all else fails, he loves to remind the faithful that he is the only honest politician in New Zealand. It would seem that he can no longer go down that road.

    Oh dear; how sad; never mind.

  2. AndrewE Says:

    It’s a pretty sad indictment of our foreign minister that everyone believes he lied and he doesn’t give a shit.

    Honestly, is it really too much to expect some integrity from our politicians?

    I love the idea of MMP in principle but in practice it has meant that blowhards like Winston can pull shit like this and not get indicted as they are required to prop up a government.

    Andrew, That remains to be seen. Want to make a complaint to the Electoral Commission? Join the queue.

  3. Inventory2 Says:

    The Electoral Commission must have such a backlog of complaints awaiting consideration that they won’t be resolved this side of the 2011 election, let alone 2008!

    I2: I guess they could hire more staff 😉

  4. AndrewE Says:

    Err, didn’t they ask for more and get turned down?

  5. Anna McM Says:

    The Baubleator? Love it!

    Me too. Best thing ever from No Minister.

  6. MacDoctor Says:

    Peters didn’t lie as a Minister, and nor did he mislead the House.

    Ahhh. So he lied just as leader of New Zealand Last…

    That makes it all right then. 😉

    Nope. It just means that it’s up to the voters to decide. Perhaps we could raise the threshhold to 10% just for one election…? I’m sure enough of us would vote Green to prevent collatoral damage

  7. MacDoctor Says:

    I’m sure enough of us would vote Green to prevent collatoral damage

    This would not be seen as a plus in some circles… 🙂

  8. adamsmith1922 Says:

    JP

    Great post, but I am afraid that in this instance we see how MMP allows a putative king or queen maker to essentially get a free pass.

    I want to vomit every time I see Peters posturing as Foreign Minister or bullying people, after all journos are people.

  9. jafapete Says:

    Adam: “I want to vomit every time I see Peters posturing as Foreign Minister or bullying people, after all journos are people.”

    Very decent of you Adam. You might be right about the journos.

    I guess we’ll have to wait and see whether Peters gets back into Parliament, and whether he gets his hands on any more baubles if he does. He came into Parliament on his own account under FFP, as did Dunne.

    But I guess he would never have held the positions of Treasurer and Minister of Foreign Affairs were it not for MMP. Small price to pay for more democratic outcomes and greater diversity in Parliament in my view.

  10. Frog Says:

    New Zealanders should change their mind. Many of them are insular-mind. They are unwelcome towards visitors, particularly Asians. However, they are craving for Asian money. A typical prostitute’s mentality. The shameless nation in the world!

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