Sep 5, 2008

Winston Loses All Credibility

The Dominion Post leads with a summary of the systematic flouting of the Party funding rules by NZ First over recent years. Would we have found this out without the SFO investigation?? No. These guys are crooks and they should be prosecuted. It is a great shame that our Prime Minister has been so willing to turn a blind eye to what has been obvious to most of the rest of us.

NZ First failed to declare more than $150,000 channelled through the Spencer Trust since 2005 - including $80,000 last year that is now the subject of a police complaint.
Trustee Grant Currie confirmed yesterday that the 2007 donation was in December - the same month former party president Dail Jones says a mysterious five-figure sum appeared in the party bank account.
ACT leader Rodney Hide asked police yesterday to investigate NZ First's 2007 return, which recorded "nil" donations.
The 2007 transfer was two months after Mr Peters said NZ First would repay the $158,000 it misspent at the last election once term deposits matured, raising fresh questions about what he knew of the trust.
He said in February that he totally endorsed treasurer Brent Catchpole's explanation that the sum noticed by Mr Jones was a consolidation of accounts.
Mr Peters would not comment yesterday, but said in a statement that Mr Hide's complaint was grandstanding. Mr Catchpole referred questions to Mr Jones, who did not return calls.
Mr Currie said that as well as $80,000 in 2007 and $50,000 in 2005, the trust paid some NZ First bills.
"In 2005, there were two accounts that were paid on behalf of the party ... probably in the region of, at a guess, $15,000 between them." More than $10,000 in bills were paid in 2006.
When The Dominion Post asked Mr Peters in July if NZ First received money from a trust that sometimes paid party bills, he said through a spokesman: "It's a lie."
Till this year, parties had to declare donations above $10,000 from the same source in the same year, including payments in kind.
NZ First declared nothing in 2005, 2006 or 2007. On Tuesday, Mr Jones, now an MP, said the $50,000 in 2005 was overlooked due to administrative errors, but he has not explained the other years.