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Winston re-enters the ring for another round


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Adam notes that Mr Peters intends to revisit his version of events before the Privileges Committee again today.

When assessing what is said there spectators might do well to consider the 30 factors which all need to be in alignment as noted in the post ‘Winston’s Story‘ at David Farrar’s Kiwiblog.

Tracy Watkins has an article in the Dominion Post on today’s hearing. Mr Peters has requested an open hearing and apparently there is a submission from the SFO.

Mr Peters, under huge pressure to explain conflicting accounts of how the donation from expatriate billionaire Owen Glenn happened, is understood to have demanded that a letter from the SFO to the privileges committee inquiry be heard in public and that he be given a public platform to respond

Later the article notes:-

It seems likely the SFO would have written to the privileges committee only if it considered some of the evidence MPs had heard was at odds with its own inquiries.

Mr Peters and his lawyer were forced to backtrack on previous evidence about what and when he knew about the Glenn donation, and a further blow to Mr Peters’ credibility would put fresh pressure on Prime Minister Helen Clark to take a stronger line on him.

The NZ Herald has an item also:-

The privileges committee and the SFO are both conducting inquiries around issues related to New Zealand First donations, but until now there has been no apparent cross-over. Mr Peters has been stood down as Foreign Minister while the SFO conducts its investigation.

The Privileges Committee is concerned with the Glenn issue not the Spencer Trust. Though the article notes:-

The Spencer Trust was mentioned briefly in the privileges committee’s first public hearing on August 18 when Mr Peters’ lawyer, Brian Henry, told the committee, “I have nothing to do with the Spencer Trust”.

Mr Henry was not sure if any of his bills had been paid by the Spencer Trust.

Reading the above comment Adam does wonder about the record keeping in Mr Henry’s law practice.

The Herald reports also on why Helen Clark has taken no action:-

However Prime Minister Helen Clark said the strong advice she had received from Cabinet ministers Michael Cullen and Lianne Dalziel on the committee was to let the process continue.

“They say the conflict of evidence is there as it has been all the way through.”

Frankly Adam finds this bizarre. After all as John Armstrong wrote in yesterday’s NZ Herald:-

Just as the Moon is made of cheese and fairies live at the bottom of the garden, Winston Peters’ lawyer, Brian Henry, wants to believe that the now notorious phone call from Owen Glenn to Peters never discussed a donation from the business tycoon to pay the legal bills of Henry’s client.

Mr Armstrong like Adam seems to think we are hearing fairytales, he then talks about Planet Winston:-

However, the rest of us don’t live on Planet Winston where black is white, white is what you want it to be and the story changes as fast as the shop-until-you-drop former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos changed her shoes.

Scathing commentary, followed by:-

To say Henry’s testimony to yesterday’s meeting of Parliament’s privileges committee was unconvincing is to be generous to a fault to the Auckland-based lawyer who was beamed into the hearing from Sydney by video conference.

Henry’s difficulty was that Glenn’s evidence to the committee on Tuesday last week was consistent and compelling, while Peters’ riposte the following night was the opposite.

Henry never had a hope. Observing him trying to back up Peters’ version of events was like watching someone trying to plug gaps in a New Orleans levee with only a toy bucket and spade as implements.

Not exactly an expression of confidence in what he heard. Then:-

Just as Peters’ version of events has adjusted to Glenn’s revelations through the course of the privileges committee’s hearings, so has his lawyer’s.

The latter’s most astonishing about face yesterday was that the mystery client mentioned in a Henry email to Glenn was in fact Peters when Henry had earlier insisted it was not.

Adam enjoyed the use of the word adjusted in the context of the stories being told. Clearly there has been some mis-speaking going on.

Armstrong then wrote this comment:-

Henry’s repetition of phrases like “don’t remember”, “can’t recall”, “no recollection” and “I do not have a memory” saw some direct questioning of the witness by United Future’s Peter Dunne.

He asked what Henry, as an experienced legal counsel, would make of someone who, when confronted with the facts, kept replying that he could not remember.

Dunne then put the proposition to Henry that he was not recalling things because to do so would create further embarrassment for Peters.

This led John Armstrong to write:-

Dunne has no axe to grind with Peters but his line of questioning indicated frustration with Henry. That could be ominous for Peters because whichever side of the fence Dunne and the Greens’ Russel Norman come down on could be influential in determining the committee’s recommendation to the House

So we enter yet another round today.

  1. adamsmith1922 permalink*
    18/09/2008 09:24

    Yes, I think you are right.

    It would have made sense for the SFO to have met Glenn.

    Further, could it be the case that the Spencer Trust paid some of Brian Henry’s bills?


  2. 18/09/2008 08:40

    I’ve asked an important question on Keeping Stock – did Owen Glenn meet with the SFO last week. If the answer is “yes”, this whole thing could be about to get very interesting indeed…


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