Aug 27, 2008

Can Peters Survive?

This from Tracy Watkins

Owen Glenn’s explosive testimony to the parliamentary privileges committee now means Peters’ future rests entirely on Prime Minister Helen Clark accepting his word over the billionaire businessman’s.
The question now is whether Clark will cut her foreign affairs minister loose – or delay till the privileges committee issues its findings. But on the face of Glenn’s testimony she has little room to manoeuvre; her foreign affairs minister’s version of events surrounding the soliciting of money from a man who is also known to have expressed an interest in the position as New Zealand’s honorary consul to Monaco, differs greatly – and puts Peters job squarely on the line.
It is an allegation that goes to the heart of his credibility. Clark would seem to have little choice but to suspend Peters till the matters are cleared up, one way or another. She has suspended other ministers for less.
Peters has always said that Glenn donated $100,000 to his legal fund after being approached by his lawyer, Brian Henry. He says he knew nothing about this donation till Henry informed him in July.
This is what Glenn says:
“The payment was made by me to assist funding the legal costs incurred personally by Rt Hon Winston Peters MP concerning his election petition dispute, at his request. Mr Peters sought help from me for this purpose in a personal conversation, some time after I had first met him in Sydney.
“I do not know Mr Henry. I do not believe that we have met. I do not recall that I, or my assistants, had any discussion or communication with Mr Henry other than to receive remittance details.”
This is what Mr Peters says in relation to Glenn’s statement that the donation was made at his request.
“[This] is not factual and does not coincide with my recollections. I believe that I met Mr Glenn many years ago and on the weekend of 13 August, well before the 2005 election, in Sydney, Bledisloe Cup weekend which is the only time I met him in Australia. ”
Only one of them can be telling the truth.