Peters saga & media conspiracy

Winston Peters’ struggle to avoid scrutiny plumbed new depths yesterday. Or, if you’re a Peters supporter, Winnie’s epic struggle with the media widened.

In Parliament, Peters dredged up a series of allegations against Rodney Hide, who seemed to be taunting him to do so.

It has to be said that Hide has been one of the chief beneficiaries of the whole saga, National’s hands being tied because (1) they might need Peters’ support in a few months time and (2) they’re the all-time NZ champions at taking large secret donations from vested interests. This exposure, and a degree of sympathy arising from the attempt at character assassination, may well boost Hide’s poll ratings.

Leaving aside the allegations of a sexual nature, in which I have no interest and nor should anyone else, the substantive allegations included:

  • Trading a large legal bill incurred in ousting convicted fraudster Donna Awatere Huata from Parliament in exchange for bringing an Asian MP into Parliament before the last election, with the party’s “Asian chapter” paying the bill.
  • Free telephone accounts when Roderick Deane was the chairman of Telecom.

These are serious allegations. Can we expect the media to pursue these matters with the same vigour that they have used to pursue similar allegations against Peters? I doubt it.

In which respect, from Espiner’s report (linked above):

“Peters again refused to talk to reporters, calling them “morons” for questioning him on revelations of a $19,998 donation to his party’s bank account in 1999 that was not disclosed to the Electoral Commission.”

Espiner knows full well that this is almost certainly two or more donations, and that there is therefore no story. He’s not a “moron”, as Peters put it, but he is knowingly beating up a hollow story and in the process adding fuel to Peters’ narrative of persecution by the media. Not a good look.

And for those of you without access to the hard-copy Herald, the Peters/Hide story is on page 2, and it’s billed as “Peters and Hide get personal in Parliament.” That’s all. Just a tiff. You can all go home now. Nothing to see here.

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8 Responses to “Peters saga & media conspiracy”

  1. macdoctor01 Says:

    Can we expect the media to pursue these matters with the same vigour that they have used to pursue similar allegations against Peters? I doubt it.

    Possibly because the media have hard evidence against Peters but only Peters’ unsubstantiated allegations against Hide. And the first sounds suspiciously like Winston “Asian Bashing” again.

  2. AndrewE Says:

    Honestly, do you think Winston has any credibility left?

  3. jafapete Says:

    Andrew, The question is, Do you think that this plays to the small minority for whom Peters has credibility? And, more importantly, “Do you think that there might be enough such (deluded) voters to get Peters over the 5% threshold?”

    Looking at the way the Nats are moving on this, it’s clear that they think that there’s at least a real chance that the answer to both questions is “yes”. I can only concur.

    MacDoc, It wouldn’t take the media long to find the hard evidence. But I’m not saying anymore than that.

  4. macdoctor01 Says:

    JP: Frankly, I don’t think the MSM would be poking at Winston if they hadn’t essentially had the story plonked in their lap. I don’t expect them to follow up on Peter’s allegations because:

    a) Peters is the “now” story, not Hide.
    b) It’s too much like hard work.
    c) They have more stock photos of Winston.

    PS If I was a betting man, I would give very short odds on Mr. Baubles being the Foreign Minister for another three years, regardless of who is the next government.

  5. just visiting Says:

    Today’s Morgan poll shows an increase in ACT support, at National’s expense.

    As John Key salutes the crowd on election night, a reporter shatters his euphoric mood:

    “So who will you choose, Roger Douglas or Winston Peters?”

  6. jafapete Says:

    JV,

    It’s hard to say exactly where any increase in ACT’s support came from in that poll without the data, but it does look that way.

    Two points: the poll was from July 14-27, 2008, so would only have included part of any “Peters saga effect”; and ACT polled 1.5%–2% in 3 polls between mid-May and end June, so the increase to 2.5% may not be that great (i.e. the previous poll rating of .5% could be due to random error).

    I’m betting that ACT does get a sizable boost in the next few polls when the full effect is included, which the ACTites will put down to the second coming of the Messiah, and that it is largely at the expense of National.

  7. Adolf Fiinkensein Says:

    jp, it is possible ACT’s hint of revival has little to do with Peters shenanigans and more to do with extensive but quiet and targeted distribution of its policy manifesto. Unlike JV I expect peters to play no part in the next government. He’ll be in jail.
    Adolf, You could be right. It could also be statistical noise. But I do like your phrasing. Wish we had the data to tell us.

  8. just visiting Says:

    “Unlike JV I expect peters to play no part in the next government. He’ll be in jail.”

    Jail? Then he’ll get over 10%.

    Clark made him Foreign Minister and his party disappeared. The media make him a martyr and his party recovers.

    You can’t stop people voting for him, you can only give them less and less reason to do so. Irrelevance would have finished off NZ First. No chance of that now.

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