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Comparing moments in time


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Guy Body - NZ Herald - 30 August 2008

Given all the recent coverage of Mr Peters it is interesting to go back and look at some of the press reports from earlier in the year. A comparison of what was said then with what is said now, is in a number of instances rather illuminating.

Take for example this report on Stuff from NZPA on 28 February of this year.

That was the date of the press conference at which Mr Peters indulged his penchant for theatrics by holding up the now infamous ‘No’ placard.

Peters said then:-

“I want to know why this media mountain has been built from a factually incorrect molehill,” said Mr Peters, who came to the press conference carrying a large piece of white cardboard with ‘NO’ printed on it.

“It is a downright lie to claim by innuendo that any money came to New Zealand First from Owen Glenn.”

Indeed based on what we now know, it is the case that Mr Glenn’s donation went to pay Mr Peters legal expenses. The money did not go to NZ First.Though questions may remain in the minds of some, as to whether that is what Mr Glenn thought he was giving money for – given the emails published by the NZ Herald.

What caught Adam’s eye though was this statement attributed to Mr Peters in respect of how he first met Mr Glenn:-

Mr Peters, who is also Racing Minister, said he knew Mr Glenn because the billionaire owned a famous race horse called Railings.

“That’s how I first met him…we had a discussion on a whole range of things,” he said.

“He has never offered me money, and we don’t ask anyone for money.”

Yet consistently Sir Robert Jones has maintained that Mr Peters asked him for money as this extract from a NZ Herald story on 26 July illustrates:-

Sir Robert last night stood by his assertion that Mr Peters asked for a donation for the 2005 election. He had asked for $50,000 but Sir Robert said he would give him only $25,000.

He also said that Roger McClay – a former adviser to Mr Peters – asked for the cheque to be made out to the Spencer Trust.

In the same article is this comment:-

Trusts have been used by many political parties as a conduit for anonymous donations.

But donations of more than $10,000 from trusts must be disclosed. No donation has been disclosed by New Zealand First since 2004.

Mr Peters said his party had complied with the law.

Yet we now know that NZ First had not complied with the law.

The common thread running through this saga is the claim by Mr Peters that it is everyone else who is at fault. That everyone else has faulty memories. Yet when pressed what do we find:-

  • Mr Glenn had given money for Mr Peters legal costs
  • Sir Robert had given money which along with other monies was funnelled through a trust

In each of these instances the information only came to light after much pressure and considerable effort by Mr Peters to avoid revealing any information. Now the line being pushed is that none of the issues can be laid at Mr Peters door, that others made the mistakes.

Well no doubt the various inquiries underway will cast some light on those claims.

At the end of the day though whatever the legal position, Adam is of the view that Mr Peters has by the approach he has adopted and his reluctance to confront the issues early on; coupled with his theatrics, together with the approach taken over the NZ$158,000 of taxpayer money wrongly spent at the 2005 election severely damaged his credibility and that of his party.

His past railing at big business and wealthy businessman is exposed as hypocritical given that he and/or his minions were hitting those same people up for funding.

It is likely that Mr Peters will be remembered more for his perceived faults than any achievements.

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