As Audrey Young points out, Winston Peters’ voluntary, albeit inevitable, stand down from his portfolios is “designed to give every suggestion of it being temporary.”
Clark’s assumption of the portfolios certainly gives that appearance. How can the Prime Minister carry on as Minister of Foreigh Affairs and fight an election campaign?
Young reports that:
“Peters and his lawyer, Peter Williams, QC, are taking documentation from the secret Spencer Trust to the SFO in Auckland this morning.”
Williams says that the documentation will prove that the donations under investigation by the SFO had reached NZ First.
If that is the case — and Williams is a very highly respected member of the legal profession — that would presumably see the SFO investigation come to an abrupt end.
Peters would then be able to argue that he has demonstrated that Owen Glenn did not actually make a donation to NZ First — the subject of his “NO” sign — and that the allegations about the diversion of the Velas and Jones donations were false.
Clark says that, “If the SFO finds no case to answer, then reinstatement is obvious.”
However, Peters might have won these battles, but not yet the war. There would still be outstanding the allegations of corruption made by Rodney Hide under parliamentary privilege, along with the conflict over whether Peters solicited the donation for Owen Glenn and which is a separate matter from the SFO investigation.
Unless he can demonstrate <em> before the election</em> that there is also nothing in either of these latter allegations, then the right will most likely have been victorious in their very obvious, well orchestrated campaign to eliminate him.
Certainly that is what Key is now banking on, having declared, “From National’s point of view, we’re ruling out working with New Zealand First and Winston Peters.” Key presumably knows what more dirt is waiting for the DomPost and Herald to fling. But then Clark’s seen the documentation.
Tags: Winston Peters