Posts Tagged ‘Rodney Hide’

The two sides to Peters’ story

August 27, 2008

Update: Chris Trotter recounts being told recently, “There’s a big pot of money out there to get Peters this time – big money.” More food for the conspiracy theorist!

Yesterday’s antics in Parliament can be viewed in at least two ways:

Rodney Hide’s attempts to expose corruption at the core of NZ’s democracy were ruthlessly crushed by the outrageous actions of the Speaker of the House.

Or

Rodney Hide’s attempts to gain milage out of airing accusations that he has probably already given to the appropriate authorities — and certainly should have — fell foul of the longstanding (and necessary) parliamentary convention that matters that are sub judice should not be raised in Parliament.

Needless to say, the former view is the accepted account on the right-wing side of the blogosphere. I’m betting that many left-wing bloggers — the party hacks at least — see things largely in terms of the latter view.

Rodney Hide was using question time to air his allegations. But the misuse of question time in that way is fairly common practice. I’m not a party to his motives. He may be concerned that the allegations should be dealt with before the election. However, since he has built his entire political career around cheap scandal-mongering (just don’t mention Fiji, anyone), I could be forgiven to taking a more cynical view.

In the end Hide’s motivations don’t matter. These matters need to be aorted before the election, so that the “court of public opinion” is an informed “court of public opinion.”

But this still doesn’t excuse Hide’s throwing a dummy and challenging this Speaker’s authority in an unprecedented way. I’m no great fan of Margaret Wilson, but I felt for her when I read the transcript. The right-wing bloggers might think that we should jettison established parliamentary conventions — hey, why not undermine the courts? — whenever their parties’ can get some advantage, but good on Wilson for sticking by the rules.

Hide got off lightly.

There’s another side to this whole Peters saga that of course the media aren’t about to report, as they have played a key part in it. Astute observers will have noticed Cullen’s interjection and withdrawal.

As well as learning the truth about the elaborate funding mechanisms that peters has operated, and whether Peters has lied about any aspects of these operations, the voters deserve to know who is behind the campaign to eliminate Peters and their motivations.

[Note: I was going to copy the entire (uncorrected) Hansard transcription, but Chris Trotter has beaten me to it.]

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Peters saga & media conspiracy

August 1, 2008

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.