Jul 26, 2008

Winston In Trouble

The Herald has an article, an opinion piece and an Editorial on Winston's credibility problems.

The article says

Serious credibility questions remain for Foreign Minister Winston Peters after he failed yesterday to throw any light on what happened to a $25,000 donation given by Sir Robert Jones in 2005 for Mr Peters' NZ First Party.

The opinion piece says

Winston Peters has to be brought to his senses. So the Prime Minister has been holding the smelling salts under his nose. Judging from yesterday's angry press conference, they are taking some time to work.
Trying to bring Peters back into the real world - rather than the fantasy world he has been inhabiting for the past fortnight - is not an act of kindness. It is an act of necessity to stop NZ First's downward spiral taking Labour with it.
Helen Clark has gone out on a limb for Peters this week at no inconsiderable risk to her own reputation. But her assistance comes with strict conditions attached.
She does not want to sack her Foreign Minister. She does not want to upset the warm relations between Labour and NZ First. But she has given her warning. When it comes to NZ First and political donations, she has taken Peters on his word that he has done nothing illegal. What is left unspoken is that that assurance had better stack up - and keep stacking up. Otherwise, she will have to ditch him from her ministry.

The Editorial has a timely reminder for Winston - this is not a game

Winston Peters returned yesterday to face some very serious questions. What is this Spencer Trust, run by his brother, for which Sir Robert Jones says he wrote a cheque at the request of Winston Peters? What political purpose, if any, does the trust serve for the New Zealand First Party? Why was the money not declared in electoral finance returns and why has the party president never heard of the trust?
From the moment Sir Robert expressed his concern at reports that his donation does not appear to have been disclosed to the Electoral Commission, the troubles for the Foreign Minister took a more ominous turn. Until then, Mr Peters had been up to his usual merriment, fielding questions about the Owen Glenn contribution to his legal costs and the sums he is said to have received from racing interests some years before he sought and received the ministerial portfolio for racing in the present Government.
The Jones disclosures prompted the Prime Minister to seek an assurance from Mr Peters in Singapore that he has done nothing illegal. The same day, he issued a statement promising to clarify matters "in an orderly manner" on his return yesterday. He has not done so.

He denied any personal involvement with the Spencer Trust, declined to explain what it was and can not explain why Sir Robert would write a cheque for a trust Sir Robert had never heard of.
Sir Robert says his secretary was told by Mr Peters to make the cheque out to the trust and Mr Peters took the cheque away. And Sir Robert says Mr Peters' brother, Wayne, wrote the receipt he received in the mail. What the donor does not know, and we would very much like to know, is, what the cheque was used for.

We are surprised Winston has lasted so long. We continue to give just a few days as Foreign Minister. We know how he fund raises.........but where has the money gone? This is going to be very interesting....