Jul 21, 2008

Herald Editorial Spot On

We agree also with the Herald Editorial. This is a problem of Winston's making, and he is making it worse.

Only Winston Peters knows why he decided to deny receiving a donation from the hapless (and utterly respectable) expatriate benefactor Owen Glenn. As Mr Peters' admission now reveals, he was in no position to deny it. He may not have been aware of the identity of donors to his legal aid but he was aware that his lawyer has been fundraising for this purpose for many years. That fact alone should have made him more circumspect when asked whether he had received any money from Mr Glenn.
Now he looks very foolish - and worse, in the eyes of many. It was one thing to make a denial without checking all possible sources of his financial support, and flourish a silly sign to news cameras, but Mr Peters did not hear alarm bells even when the Herald discovered an email in which Mr Glenn asked a public relations adviser, "You are saying I should deny giving a donation to NZ First? When I did?"
A wiser man would have run a quick check on all sources of funds related to his personal political activities and his party. Instead our Foreign Minister descended to baseless and disgraceful allegations of his own - against the integrity of this newspaper, its editor, and our fair-minded political editor, Audrey Young.


Indeed, it might disturb Mr Glenn to hear that the donation was technically not for a party's legal action but for an individual MP's, because that MP is the country's Foreign Minister and the Monaco-based billionaire would like to be appointed our honorary consul there. It is a humble enough request from an expatriate who leads a multi-national logistics enterprise and has given millions to his country of birth, most recently to endow the new Auckland University business school that carries his name.
He was also the Labour Party's largest donor at the last election, a connection noted when he was named in the New Year Honours. Labour weathered that news easily enough and NZ First could have done likewise, had Mr Peters not foolishly denied it. He has put himself in this hole and he would be smarter to stop digging.