Jul 21, 2008

Is This The End For Winston?

Tracy Watkins suggests that this might be

The touchstone within Parliament is that a member's word is his honour. As an old-school politician who has graced Parliament's corridors longer then most, Mr Peters might rely on his word that he did not know about the donation till Mr Henry told him on Friday being enough to settle the matter.
But outside the rarefied world of Parliament where no such automatic privilege applies, it may take more than Mr Peters' word to restore NZ First's credibility over the affair.
In typical Peters fashion, he has suggested that even if he had known, he would still have been telling the truth, since the money went not to him or to NZ First, but to his legal fund.
But on that score, the master of the semantic argument may be stretching believability too far – for the average punter, there is rarely so much grey around "no". It is usually taken to mean just that. The bluster might wash with NZ First's hard-core supporters. They are the true believers who have, after all, stuck with the NZ First leader through many more bad times than good.
But outside that close circle, the belligerence that has accompanied his admission might look more like the response of a man who feels cornered than one who considers himself in the right.
Contrition – not just because he appears to have been wrong but because he allowed the reputations of others (his MPs and the advisers who spent the week hotly defending his position) to rest on his staunch denials – might have been a wiser course.
Best to admit he was wrong than continue to muddy the waters by insisting, Clintonesque-style, that even if he was wrong he was right.