The good oil on Peters

For the most part the response to the current Peters saga in the NZ blogosphere has been to froth and demand Peters’ immediate dismissal. But there have been some honourable exceptions…

Over on Scoop, Gordon Campbell assesses the winners and losers. The affair will likely hurt Peters in Tauranga, where he faces serious opposition, Campbell says. But it may see him over the 5% threshold. Campbell believes that it is not the racism and so on per se that appeals to Peters’ supporters; but that they are repulsed by the reaction from the elite.

Without the data to back this up — who’d want to run a focus group of Peters supporters, eh? — I’m inclined to the view that NZ First voters must be partial to conspiracy theories and populist demagoguery, and that Peters may very well refresh his support base with another round of perceived persecution.

Other winners include Rodney Hide, “who gets to play the indignant touch judge”, not having his hands tied like Key and Clark, and National, whose minimalist approach to policy and its release was starting to come to people’s notice. The main beneficiary, Campbell thinks, could be the EFA, the raison d’etre for which must now be unassailable.

Losers include the Herald and DomPost

“… who railed against the EFA, and – with a straight face – have now railed against the kind of arrangements practised by NZF (and in all likelihood, by other political parties who were laundering anonymous donations via trusts) that made the EFA, or legislation akin to it, essential. And oh, the public.”

Campbell points out that the essential issues involved are technical and arcane. “Lawyer stuff.” Cactus Kate provides a very useful outline of Peters’ escape route from questions on the Spencer trust. As she points out, he needn’t be a beneficiary of the trust — his lawyer could be and most probably is — and he therefore can’t be expected to answer any questions to do with the Trust or its affairs. This was his line in last Friday’s press conference, a transcript of which Audrey Young provides.

Finally Brian Rudman puts it all in perspective, with a very clever and disparaging account, followed by some thoughts on state funding of elections, something I’m hoping to post on soon.

[Update: Ralston reveals in his Listener column (not available on-line) receiving at TVNZ in 2005 anonymous letters from a “nutter” who signed himself “Eumenides” and promised a trove of information on secret donations to political parties. Similar letters went to other media outlets and are undoubtedly the ones that Peters referred to the Speaker at the time. Ralston admits TVNZ spent some time trying to track down the anonymous informant when s/he took imagined offence and broke the correspondence. This story is consistent with Peters’ claims that TVNZ engaged private detectives to find dirt on him. Nothing illegal about that, of course. And, if anything, it just feeds into Peters’ persecution narrative.]

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4 Responses to “The good oil on Peters”

  1. Inventory2 Says:

    JP – was this written before or after the announcement of Rodny Hide’s complaint to the SFO?

  2. jafapete Says:

    I2, This was written before Hide’s announcement.

    We will have to wait and see whether the SFO decide that there is anything there for them to investigate. I’d be quite happy if they did. If, as appears to be the case, Peters was “blind” to the operation of his party’s slush funds, oops, anonymous trusts, as National Party leaders have been, then any wrong-doing could be pinned on someone else, in the event that there was any wrong-doing.

  3. MacDoctor Says:

    JP: As DPF has pointed out at Kiwiblog, Winston’s trusts remain essentially unaffected by the EFA. Personally, I think it illustrates just how poorly thought out the legislation really is.

  4. Inventory2 Says:

    Agreed McDr – and the supreme irony is that the parties who conceived and delivered the EFA are the ones who are having the most problems complying with it.

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