Aug 31, 2008

Where To Begin - Ralston Maybe

There is much to comment upon today, so much that it is hard to know here to begin. Lets start will Bill Ralston who tells us something we did not know. This is very significant and should be a real worry to Peters. If you think that Clark is going to have to back anytime before the election dream on. She is stringing you on. She believes you so much she is having her own investigations done.

Just after 8am on Friday I got a hurried call from one of the Prime Minister's closest advisers. Did I have an Auckland number for Sir Robert Jones?
I did not but suggested he wait until 9am and call Bob's Wellington office to get the landline number for the cellphone-phobic Jones.
"I can't wait until 9am. It's urgent," he replied in a slightly embarrassed tone before hanging up.
I bet it was urgent.
A few minutes before, Bob Jones had been on National Radio calling Winston Peters "a liar", stating he had misled the House, one of the most heinous crimes in Parliament and a firing offence.
Helen Clark was due shortly to meet an unrepentant Peters in Auckland to ask him to stand aside as Foreign Minister. She clearly wanted all her ducks in a row because it would not be an easy discussion.

Ralston then goes on to look at three reasons why Peters had to be stood down:

The Serious Fraud Office had announced it suspected there could be a "serious and complex fraud" involved in his New Zealand First party's financing and would investigate what happened with donations from Jones and the Vela family. It would not immediately investigate the Owen Glenn donation, or matters surrounding the Scampi inquiry, but left the door open to probe those issues if more evidence came out. Strike One against Peters.

Helen Clark had picked up that morning's Dominion Post to read a new accusation that Winston Peters had misled the House when, in 2006, he assured Parliament he had personally paid all his legal expenses in the Winebox inquiry. The paper revealed it had uncovered at least $24,000 in bills paid by the taxpayer through the Parliamentary Services organisation for Winebox-related legal work. Strike Two.

On her radio she heard Bob Jones deny a claim Peters had made in the House that Jones had seen the party's books and the matter of his misdirected $25,000 donation was "cleared up". An angry Jones insisted Peters had misled the House on that. Strike Three.