No quick end to Peters saga in sight

Helen Clark has just said what I thought would have been bleeding obvious.

She does not think it’s “remotely likely” Winston Peters’ would resign as Foreign Minister, and even if he did the Government “would not be affected”.

Some people see Sir Robert Jones’ revelations late last week as finally providing the necessaries for Peters’ dispatch. To recap:

“There was a lot of drinking and when we got round to the subject [of the donation] there was a tremendous argument and I said ‘Winston, I’m not giving you anything’. Finally to get him off my back I said ‘you can have $25,000 on the basis of friendship’,” Sir Robert said.

Asked if he believed it was plausible Peters knew nothing of the Spencer Trust, he added:

“Of course he [Peters] did… [But] there was no bloody mention of the Spencer Trust. The money was to go to his party. “I don’t tell bloody lies. Why am I in the firing line for an act of benevolence? I won’t tolerate it.”

But let’s unpack this. Jones starts by saying that he told Peters “I’m not giving you anything.” Note that he didn’t say “I’m not giving NZ First anything.” I’d be prepared to bet that, a little under the influence and late at night, Jones probably said “you” and not NZ First when he did agree to give some money.

He eventually gave $25,000 to the Spencer Trust in the belief that it was going to NZ First. Fine. He was entitled to think that. But even so, Peters probably heard “you” as that is what came out of Jones’ mouth, according to Jones’ own account.

Therefore, using the Spencer Trust money for his legal fees might just be justifiable, much as it pains me to say so. In in that case the matter is really one between Jones and Peters, or, indeed, Jones and the Spencer Trust, if such a thing (the trust as opposed to the account) exists.

Even should there have been no illegality, because of the old electoral law that the Nats used, abused, and sought to protect so strenuously, the people have the final say. As Clark put it, “But then there’s the court of public opinion, and the court of public opinion may have views on whether something is moral or not.”

Note the wistful tone.

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6 Responses to “No quick end to Peters saga in sight”

  1. Inventory2 Says:

    Perhaps I’m being a cynical old beggar JP, but maybe when the PM talks about the “Court of public opinion” and “whether it was moral” in the same breath, she was waiting to see whether there is another bounce in the polls for Labour there for the taking if she cuts Peters loose.

    Meantime, please stop writing Peters’s excuses for him! Have you no shame?

  2. homepaddock Says:

    The legality may be a moot point but there is no doubt about the hypocrisy.

  3. Inventory2 Says:

    No doubt whatsoever HP – for a man whose party slogan when formed was “Keeping them honest”, this is a real blow to Peters’s integrity. he has railed against secret trusts, yet he has operated one himself. He calls for everyone else to be transparent, yet demands a veil of secrecy around his own activities. He bemoans the effect of “big money” on NZ politics, and yet has been quite happy to receive large sums of money himself. So when you call him for hypocricy, you are spot on HP.

  4. jafapete Says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Rank hypocrisy. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that Peters is almost redefining the term hypocrisy.

    But he seems pretty thick skinned to me. Is this enough to warrant sacking him? That is the question. Key, in fact, will not rule out having him in a coalition.

  5. ak Says:

    mmmmm…….hypocrisy from a politician eh Pete. And the sun came up this morning too – but it depends where you were standing as to whether you saw it.

    For my past sins I regularly rub er zimmer frames with a few of Winnie’s winsome ones, and frankly I’ve never seen them so cock-a-hoop. They’re actually chuffed that he might have managed to wangle some dosh off the likes of Jones and co – in order to play them at their own game so to speak – and especially wiggy at the mere sight of that flashing bodgie smile on TV again blasting all the media before it. Mere details like laws matter not a fig – Winnies a lawyer don’t ya know, what would a ruddy reporter know?

    You might be right about Hels waiting IV – but it’ll be for what happens to NZF’s polling, not Labour’s, and Flippery’s in the same boat. Winnie and/or MP will hold the electoral key (in both senses) I reckon, and my bet’s on Winnie doing well out of this – no matter what the media or any other court says.

    Next poll will tell – of course I’m quite prepared to eat my hat if I’m wrong (honest I will)”)

  6. jafapete Says:

    Thanks ak for sharing that. No, given my own involvement in politics over the years I can’t say that I am hugely surprised whenever hypocrisy is exposed. But you’d have to admit that Peters has taken it to undreamt of depths.

    The essential problem is that he depends on a small support base which isn’t that concerned about the niceties of declaring electoral financing and the like, as you say. A major part of his charm has been his brazen, “up you” attitude to the media and established politicians. Going with National in 1996 pissed them off, but otherwise he seems to lose support when he’s not stirring. So I can well believe what you say, and half-expect that Peters benefit in the next set of polls. Sadly.

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