Aug 23, 2008

Winston Not Man Enough

to apologise to leading New Zealand political journalists for the outrageous way he attacked them for questioning whether Labour's major donor Owen Glenn had contributed anonymous funds to New Zealand First. So says Fran O'Sullivan in today's NZ Herald.

Hard hitting stuff, but Fran goes on to suggest that he will manage to dodge the privileges committee bullet

My inquiries suggest that unless Glenn makes a statement to the committee that runs counter to what Peters and Henry have said - that Henry approached Glenn directly for financial help and that Peters was kept out of the picture - the allegation that the NZ First leader ought to have disclosed the donation is unlikely to be upheld.
Legal authorities I have consulted suggest the committee will probably opt for "form over substance" on this score, unless the transaction between Glenn and Henry can be proved a sham.
This will inevitably cause considerable angst to MPs Rodney Hide and Gordon Copeland, whose complaints led to the privileges committee's inquiries. It might also lead to suggestions to cover the obvious gap.

We are not so sure - don't forget the $40,000 payment (who made it and was it a gift?)

Fran also says that there is no smoking gun out there to confirm suggestions that NZ First support is for sale. Again we are no so sure. Lets wait a few days on that.

But Fran does make two points we do agree with - he can't do the Foreign Minister job properly anymore

But Peters' continuing reliance on bravado and counter-punches instead of confronting the real issues means his political reputation is punctured.
For a politician with the prime role of being New Zealand's top diplomat, this is disastrous.
Peters typically tells audiences it is vital to have personal relationships built on respect and trust.
"That is ultimately the secret of being an effective Foreign Minister; get the relationships right and the rest will follow."
But respect and trust also count at home and that is rapidly diminishing.


But unfortunately the Peters donations furore does obscure the real scandal the NZ First leader continues to duck. The party's refusal to send a cheque to the Crown for the $158,000 in unlawful spending at the 2005 election is breathtakingly cynical.
Doling out this money - which rightfully belongs in taxpayer's coffers - to a swag of unnamed charities doesn't cut it for a politician who made his name on challenging commercial malfeasance. He should not be let off the hook.