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Chasing Peters, it’s easier than examining policy

Written By: - Date published: 10:22 am, July 22nd, 2008 - 97 comments
Categories: election funding, nz first - Tags:

For my part, I don’t see the big deal in all this Peters donation stuff. Transparency in election funding is important (and it’s something that National and ACT have constantly opposed) but there is no evidence of Peters has been purposely secretive.

A legal defence fund set up for a court case involving Peters received a donation from Owen Glenn and, as per his strict practice, the lawyer, Brian Henry, involved did not reveal to Peters that Glenn was one of the donors to that fund. I see nothing wrong with that practice on Henry’s part it seems designed to ensure politicians do not feel beholden to anyone who donates to their cause and to discourage donations in return for political favours. That’s all perfectly legal and, seeing as Glenn was happy to give openly to Labour it can be assumed that it was only Henry’s practice and Peters’ ignorance that kept Glenn from publicly declaring his donation to the legal defence fund.

The irony is that we are only aware that Glenn was a large donor at all because he gave openly and honestly to Labour. In contrast, National received over $2 million in secret donations that it purposely funnelled through anonymising trusts. We won’t see the media asking hard questions about who gave National all that money and why National was so desperate to keep the identities secret because they’ve been so thoroughly secretive that there is no evidence to work with.

Peters claims he didn’t know about the donation to the fund until Henry decided to break his practice on Friday, and I see no reason not to believe him. When Peters did find out he told the media quickly.

Peters did know a legal defence fund used to fund a case in his name had received donations but legal defence funds are specifically not included in the list of pecuniary interests, so there was no need to list it. The registry of pecuniary interests is a joke anyway nearly every National and ACT MP hides their true financial interests by having family trusts, the holdings of which are not declared.

As for the Dompost’s ‘revelations’ today various members of the Vela family and companies owned by the family gave amounts that may have totalled $150,000 to New Zealand First over a period of five years. So what? The donations are legal and, as long as NZF didn’t receive more $10,000 from any individual person (legal or natural) in one financial year, they didn’t have to be declared under the law of the time.

It’s an indictment on the New Zealand political discourse that, when there finally is a real policy contest to discuss, the dominant issue is a donation Owen Glenn gave three years ago. So much easier and fun to chase Peters than research big issues that actually affect people. So, excuse me if I continue to post on policy and issues that matter to Kiwis, rather than getting worked up about who knew what when over some old donations.

97 comments on “Chasing Peters, it’s easier than examining policy ”

  1. Mike Collins 1

    I somehow think that if this was John Key or Rodney Hide your tune would be a little different SP.

    It may be ok to you that Peters misled the public. It’s not to me – or your comrade Idiot/Savant at NRT. Also it is of grave concern that our Foreign Minister appears to have received donations for political favours.

    It also disgusts me that he refuses to acknowledge the implications here and instead demands resignations from members of the media. He can’t bully his way out of this one.

    However Helen Clark also needs to “man up” on this issue. If this was one of her ministers they would have been fired by now. And justly so. It is not ok to say that this is an issue for Winston Peters and NZF.

    As a Minister in HER government, she must investigate improprietry, perceived or real. Particularly when the implications are cash for favours. Then again who bestowed Mr Glenn’s gong upon him?

    So if this were anyone other than someone propping up Helen Clark and her government, what would your reaction really be?

    Captcha – Aw nicely. Lol.

  2. Nick C 2

    There are so many parts of the issue that you have just completely ignored, you havent really addressed the elephant in the room, just acknowledged its existance:

    1) In order for Peters to have not known about the donation Glenn would have had to spesifically seek out Peters lawyer and legal trust (without going through Peters) to make the donation. Is that really likely?
    2) If this really happened then why did Owen Glenn think he was donating to NZ First?
    3) Peters as foriegn minister has the power to grant the position of Consul to Monaco to Owen Glenn. Why dont you examine the implications here?
    4) Peters continued attacks on the Herald calling them to resign despite the revalations, how stupid is that?
    5) NZ First has actually denied the latest revelations that you talked about
    6) The Vela family are big in the racing industry. Isnt Peters minister of racing?
    7) In 1995 Peters tried to pass a bill that if implimented he would be in jail by now. How hypocritical is that?

  3. Tane 3

    Fair point about the diversion from real coverage Steve, but I don’t put as much faith in Peters’ honesty as you. We all know anonymous donations are a joke. Chances are Peters knew all along and deliberately misled the media and by extension the public. He’s been caught out, and for that he deserves to face the electoral consequences.

    To me this just confirms the need to get rid of anonymous donations entirely, and hopefully a future review of the EFA will take this into account.

  4. Excellent. Dave you owe me a hundy. He posted on Winnie before 11a.m

    Steve, your “nothing to see here” attitude towards this is not going to wash this time.
    Racing industry gets a big dollop of green after years of industry identity giving big cheques to Winnie… Or NZ first… Or Winnie. Seems to be some doubt that all the money got where it was intended to go. The Glenn excuses are only believable to those of you whose continued employment is hinged on them being true.
    And now it seems parliamentary services have been paying the barrister as well.
    Let’s hope you come out swinging against Peter’s this afternoon. Your continued role as ideas floater for the Labour party would be the clearest indication yet that Helen Clark intends to cauterise the rotten flesh.

  5. higherstandard 5

    Kudos to you Tane.

    I agree that the whole thing has a particular odour about it.

    I have no issue with him getting donations from people with and interest in the racing industry as they obviously view he’s doing a good job and want to help him out – but his continual lying and obfuscation has reached a new peak.

    I also predict that the Prime Minster will gut him after the meeting with C Rice – her comment that she had no choice but to take his word as the Minster of Foreign Affairs is a perfect set up – and if she does good on her and hopefully good riddance to Winston once and for all.

  6. dodged the facts 6

    [lprent: Don’t make one of these little fuckwit leading point lists, starting with “what do we know” or the equivalent. They come straight from a Stalinist trial procedure and are a completely stupid attempt to take over a debate without offering anything new because all you do is list points spun your way and attempt to pass them as facts.

    I view them as a sign of yet another moronic troll trait that seems to drift in from . Discuss the thing rather than trying to do the psuedo trial crap.

    I’ve struck out your whole comment to demonstrate the contempt that I view the whole method with.]


    What do we know:

    1. Peters knew that the fund existed and knew that the fund partially paid for his legal expenses

    2. If this fund didn’t exist then Peters would have had to have paid the whole lot himself – therefore he is better off financially because of the fund

    3. Peters is obliged by the Register of Pecuniary Interests disclosure rules to disclose if he has recieved any gifts or if any debts have been paid for him by others

    4. So Peters in order to fulfil his obligations under the Register should have made inquiries with his lawyer as to nature and size of these gifts so that he could put the required information (that he had recieved a gift or had had a debt paid for him) in his return.

    5. He didn’t – therefore he’s flouted Parliament’s rules

    6. He also seems to have broken the Cabinet Manual rules by not disclosing a gift of $500 or more

    7. Moreover one of the people giving the money, that he did not disclose, was asking for a job that would have given him some prestige in Monaco

    And this still isn’t a big deal, particularly when Clark is on record in 1999 as wanting to impose a new and higher standard of accountability and integrity on her Ministers

  7. I’m all for getting rid of anonymous donations down to a level like $200 (which Canada has) but we have to remember that we don’t want anonymous donations because they’re a vehicle for corruption and I don’t see how there’s any evidence of corruption here.

    Also, what would Peters’ interest purposely hiding this have been?

    My understanding is legal defence funds are not covered by the Register of Pecuniary Interests and if they were, why wouldn’t Peters just have said he had an interest in one? It’s not like it would have led to any scandal.

  8. randal 8

    harden up you lot…or take in the elastic in yur underpants…nothing to see here….move along…GO WINNIE!!!!!

  9. Mike Collins 9

    Tane,

    Great to hear your position on this. There is nothing wrong with donations that are laundered with sunlight. It’s those hidden from the public view that give rise to perceptions of corruption.

    You mention he needs to face the electoral consequences. What consequences do you see as appropriate for Helen Clark to bestow upon him?

  10. It’s really really interesting to see the righties coming over all faint over this ‘secrecy’ are the same ones who opposed the EFA and wanted National to continue getting millions secret money. In fact, I seem to recall some of you arguing that secret money couldnt’ affect elections or policies.

    My position is this: secret donations aren’t good because they hide identities of donors from the public but not from politicians, inviting corruption. It seems Peters was not allowed to know who his donors were as a condition of his lawyer’s services, which removes any chance of corruption. No rules or laws appear to have been broken.

  11. Steve, Peters has not voluntarily disclosed anything. he has been dragged kicking and screaming to the mike after the media have done a little digging.
    Expecting us to believe that he knew nothing of a “donation” from Glenn is (in light of their joint history and emails and meetings) stretching the bounds of credulity beyond the realms of fantasy.
    The PM needs to rid herself Now. Despite my wish for her to go down in a screaming heap as well I would suggest she would do a lot to restore her once golden reputation as honest if she were to sack him. labour would get a bump in the polls without a doubt. Unless there is some as yet undisclosed reasons why she cannot get rid of him of course.

  12. Mike Collins 12

    SP – “and I don’t see how there’s any evidence of corruption here.”

    Do we really need to get out the crayons? Or should we just change the name from Winston Peters to John Key to help you see the link here.

    You were all over the perceived trouble with the insurance industry buying favours/policy from National. How is it you can’t see the problem here?

  13. Quoth the Raven 13

    At the end of the day it’s Helen who would sign off on who becomes consul to Monaco and she has said many times that it’s incredibly unlikely that Owen Glen would get the job. If as Steve is saying that Winston didn’t know who donated to his legal fund then there is no issue of Glen trying to buy favour. I don’t like rich guys like Glen getting involved in politics more than anyone else and it does disgust me as do all the rich donors to the National party (and the rich MPs). What I think happened is Glen doesn’t like National (no surprise there) he donated to a legal fund for a case against a National MP. Why? Because he doesn’t like National, not because he wanted to buy favour with Winston. Although I’m not ruling out that it could be both. If National gets in power I wonder what tune you will be singing when they inevitably give out jobs for the boys or New Zealand assets for the boys?

  14. infused 14

    SP mate you are awesome. You just ignored everything and span some shit about National again. Great post mate, would read again!

    Nothing to see here people, move on.

  15. gobsmacked 15

    There are serious ethical/legal issues here, and they do need to be addressed. This must apply to any MP or party, and the fact that there are questions about other parties doesn’t change that. Peters has got some explaining to do.

    But for what it’s worth, my prediction of how this will play out:

    1) Peters will eventually be forced to resign / be sacked

    2) Peters will then have a couple of months to campaign for NZ First, free from government. He can get stuck in to both parties (he has NEVER gone into an election supporting a government).

    3) He will play the martyr well enough to get 5% – many people will side with him not on the details (“boring!”), but “media versus victim”. This will work, I’m afraid. Even Richard Nixon at his darkest hour, caught red-handed, never had 95% of the country opposing him.

    4) Back in Parliament, he will do a deal with National. Winston and Key will be in; Clark (and ACT) will be out.

    5) There will be a march of Kiwibloggers on Parliament, calling for John Key’s head. The Standard will join in.

  16. If it turns out that Peters was misleading the public on this donation I would still think the substnative issue is minor but I would call on him to resign for lying to the public – we’re not at that point.

    You always have to ask about people’s motivations – what possible reason could Peters have had for purposely not revealing a legal and harmless donation?

  17. Point 5 is spot on.

  18. Tane 18

    Mike C, I don’t know. I mean, I don’t see how Helen Clark is responsible for NZ First’s finances, or Winston’s behaviour in his capacity as NZ First leader. In politics people wear a number of hats, and as Foreign Minister he’s done nothing wrong. It’s the racing stuff I’d be more concerned about.

  19. infused 19

    Because of his links with the Labour govt probably. Another reason why HC is quiet. Maybe there is some more digging to do.

  20. T-rex 20

    “I would suggest she would do a lot to restore her once golden reputation as honest if she were to sack him.”

    I’m inclined to agree. Peters is a bare faced liar and shouldn’t be in government. I hope Clark hangs him out to dry, because he deserves it. If that ruins any chances of a coalition – so be it. Integrity isn’t free – though in this case it might be extraordinarily cheap. Who’d vote for him now? Especially since he explicitly asked morons not to. Way to alienate your base there Winston. The media certainly aren’t going to do you any favours.

  21. Nick C. “6) The Vela family are big in the racing industry. Isnt Peters minister of racing?”

    people donate to parties whose policies they support – big business and the wealth give secrety to National. Unions, workers and a few wealthy liberals give openly to Labour. A racing family gives money to a pro-racing party, big surprise…. the question is which is the chicken and which is the egg – if you’re giving money in return for the party adopting a policy, that’s bad. if you’re giving money becuase you like a party’s policy, that’s good.

  22. Steve, you wrote;
    “You always have to ask about people’s motivations – what possible reason could Peters have had for purposely not revealing a legal and harmless donation?”

    There seems to be a lot of confusion as to whether these “donations” went where they were intended and it appears as though there may be some blurring of the boundaries between peter’s accounts and the accounts of his party.

  23. dodged the facts 23

    SP – he has misled the public through negligence at the very least.

    The Register of Pecuniary Interests forces you to make sure that you have your affairs in order and to disclose those affairs. That means if you know someone is helping you out financially you should go and find out as much as you can to make your return to the register as accurate as possible

    He knew that a fund was helping him discharge debts that he incurred but yet he either negligently didn’t check with his lawyer as to the nature of the aid with discharging the debt or he deliberately didn’t.

    In both ways he is culpable and the Helen Clark that stood down Philida Bunkle and Marion Hobbs almost immediately in the early 2000s would have done the exact same thing today if she wasn’t mortified about being thrashed by Winston and losing her majority.

  24. Vanilla Eis 24

    Who’d vote for him now? Especially since he explicitly asked morons not to. Way to alienate your base there Winston.

    T-rex: Except that it’s a catch-22. Anyone dumb enough to vote for him after that isn’t smart enough to realise quite how dumb they are, yes?

    Edit:

    dodged: So, by those standards, John Key needs to demand that the Waitemata Trust disclose the names of donors and amounts donated, and tell Parliament?

    Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

  25. T-rex 25

    “What possible reason could Peters have had for purposely not revealing a legal and harmless donation?”

    Because it was politically hot at the time, however illogically.

    The fact that it was, as you say, a minor issue is the really worrying part.

    He had no hesitation in lying like a rug even when the cost of honesty would have been very low.

    His choices were to tell the truth, and pay a very small price for it, or to tell a lie. It sounds like he chose to lie.

    How, then, can we possibly expect him to display any integrity when the price of honesty is slightly higher. He’s essentially showed he’s prepared to lie on any issue, no matter how small the gain, which means we must ASSUME he’ll lie on any issue with moderate potential gain. Why the hell would we want that kind of person in power?

  26. T-rex 26

    Vanilla – yeah, I know. I can just see them ticking the box: “Heh heh, you and me against the morons winnie, united we stand”. Bloody democracy.

  27. Mike Collins 27

    Tane,

    This is why I think it is Helen’s responsibility: As Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Peters has a huge part to play in recommending consuls. The fact that he hadn’t ruled out Owen Glenn (until this was done for him by Helen Clark yesterday) leaves open legitimate questions of corruption.

    I can’t as easily believe Winston is telling the truth regarding not knowing about the donation as SP can. That makes it her issue.

    SP – please admit your reaction to this would be fundamentally different if this was a National or ACT MP involved.

  28. mike 28

    “It seems Peters was not allowed to know who his donors were as a condition of his lawyer’s services”

    SP, if you honestly believe this then my estimation of you has fallen dramatically.

    Trying to hide this behind his mother’s death was the really sad part though.

  29. Mike Collins. You’re welcome to admit that your position would be different if it were a National MP too.

    Tell you what if this had been National I would have been hoping that when the details came out it would have been nasty and i would have been very disappointed when it came out that it was money given to a legal defence fund that Peters wasn’t allowed to know the details of. If I was desperate and had already written twenty odd posts on the issue I might keep pushing it, otherwise I would find more fertile ground.

  30. Rob 30

    This whole saga is getting more and more fascinating. I can well understand why the Labour Government would want this shut down and quickly as possible. Now another 150 k of funds from the Vella Family as reported by the Dominion today not the Herald I note it appears that there are plenty of stories to go round for all. The Teflon man is no more and more and more is starting to stick. Its time for Helen to cut him loose if she wants open and honest government one of her pledges.

    The real interesting thing is the EFA which Labour forced through and Winnie supported was suppose to catch National and all their Rich Prick friends. Well all its doing is catching Labour and NZ first isn’t great how the worm can turn and bite you in the arse.

  31. Nick C 31

    “People donate to parties whose policies they support – big business and the wealth give secrety to National”

    I agree. The point is that you are being hugely inconsistent Steve. You condemn the big bussinesses who give their money to national! You know like the insurance companies who want to privatise ACC.

    Also NZ First has denied those donations and claimed the Dom Post is lying.

  32. Mike Collins 32

    SP – If you seriously believe Winston Peters didn’t know about the donation I have a bridge for sale.

    The man is a bare-faced lier. As T-Rex notes, he can’t help but lie, even when telling the truth is not costly. He’s pathological. So why do you choose to take him at his word?

    As for me taking a different position if this was a National Party MP. You obviously don’t know me very well. If they were in exactly the same position (and with Winston’s history of misleading the public), I would be quite happy to have them hung out to dry.

  33. F*ck what a bore – yeah Winnie lied. Of course he lied he’s been up to no good since the days of Meurant and the paper bags. He won’t get done for it because he’s Winnie. In fact outside of the beltway this is gonna look like Winston sticking it to the Wellington wankers. Especially the media.

    Other than that – yeah let’s get rid of anonymous donations altogether. This would be a great point to run that up. Um but… I reckon the reason National is running its proxies (such as DPF) on this issue is they don’t want to enter that debate themselves.

    And having heard Angry Bill English talking it down this morning (“we don’t really know if it’s an issue for the pecuniary committee…”) I’m starting to think they’re a bit worried about getting flanked on this issue and finding the light cast on them…

  34. Winston’s first response is always to call his accuser a liar.
    Mr no no no no no YES is just following the same path he always has.
    Clearly everybody is lying in just the same way that the last 12 or so polls have been rogue until the last one 🙂
    The Dom Post is claiming that not all the donations went to NZ first. Whatever can they mean by that??
    Let’s hope this thread helps Helen make the decision the country requires of her.

  35. Rob.. I agree with the second half of your comment. But let us not overlook the fact that if Peter’s survives National may well need to work with him after the election. This prospect fills me with as much disgust as labour supporters are probably feeling at the moment about labour having to work with him.
    Why are you not blogging at your place at the moment???

  36. T-rex 36

    You know what really pisses me off Barnsley? You don’t want Helen to fire Peters because you think he’s a liar who deserves to be fired – you want her to do it because you know it’ll wreck Labours chances of a coalition deal with NZF and mean National is more likely to get into power – possibly in coaltion WITH Peters.

    That’s how I read it anyway. So don’t pretend you’re holding to some lofty ideal of justice and integrity.

    edit – I stand corrected. At least you’re feeling disgust. Though you say “National may well need to work with him”. Shouldn’t that prospect be written off just as solidly as any suggestion that Clark lets him off?

  37. Nick C 37

    “Imagine if the Exclusive Brethren loving Nats had denied getting 100k then coughed up under pressure.

    Would Peters go easy on John Key? Would Helen Clark stay silent, muttering, “it’s a party matter’? You know the answer.”

    This is from Duncan Garners blog (he is calling on Winnie to be sacked). By the way National has never lied about anonymous donations to itself, nor has it attacked the media accusing them of lying and calling on them to resign when clearly they were right.

    “Tell you what if this had been National I would have been hoping that when the details came out it would have been nasty and i would have been very disappointed when it came out that it was money given to a legal defence fund that Peters wasn’t allowed to know the details of.”

    Come on Steve, no one here can imagine you saying that with a straight face. If it was John Key this blog would be attacking him relentlessly.

  38. gobsmacked 38

    I reckon the reason National is running its proxies (such as DPF) on this issue is they don’t want to enter that debate themselves.

    This is quite fun to watch actually.

    The growing chorus (and not just on the right): Winston should be sacked.

    John Key yesterday: Winston should “apologise”.

    (Breaking news: Winston caught on camera eating the last kakapo … Key says “it’s not a good look, but I blame Helen Clark”).

  39. AAAH. I see you are. I stopped looking a few days ago after a week of nothing. Your Cheap shots post is brilliant.

  40. santi 40

    SP stooping to defend Peters! What an spectacle.

    Can you imagine him arriving at the same conclusion if the issues involved donations to the National Party, ACT, or any other political body not in Labour’s pocket?

    SP, your credibility is shot to pieces.

  41. lprent 41

    By the way National has never lied about anonymous donations to itself, nor has it attacked the media accusing them of lying and calling on them to resign when clearly they were right.

    Nope – they put in a law that favoured having anonymous donations, and then were far and away the biggest user of anonymous donations. They also made it illegal to even say the name of the person doing the donation.

    Now if this had been done by Labour? Well it would make the EFB debate look minimal. Fundamentally the Nats and their supporters (like yourself) are just hypocrites.

    In the case of Winston (who I have no time for), you are attacking him because he has now disclosed an anonymous donor. But at least he did it.

    It is more than you can say for the gutless arseholes in National and ACT. They should just designate a fall person (Judith Kirk?) to disclose all of their donations for that year. When I see the Nat’s disclose all of their dirty anonymous donations from the same year then I may get interested in Winstons anonymous donations.

    Frankly the right should take a good look at their level of hypocrisy. They sicken me.

  42. Rob 42

    Barnsleybill Hi I agree with you I would find National working with Peters as repugnant as you I hope he is out of Parliament after this election.

    All though I do like people like Ron Mark. I think you should look up the Winston/ Paul Henry Interview on youtube it could spell big trouble for Winnie he denies it twice at least on Camera will be interesting to see how it unfolds, But what will Helen do,

    I agree with Nick C . If this had been National in The Standard would have been all over it with boots on calling for accountability but strangely quiet at the moment really!!

  43. higherstandard 43

    Perhaps the other possibility, albeit unlikely, is that everything is going to Winston’s plan let’s not forget he is a very savvy political operator and may have been planning to get a 5-7% sympathy vote on the back of ‘everyone hates me” and the “media have got a vendetta against me” but “I’m the only one you can trust to keep National or Labour honest.”

    Said it before I’ll say it again I wouldn’t bet my house against him being back next year, despite that both the Labour and National caucuses hate him.

  44. IP, your breathless indignation would carry more weight if it were not for a couple of inconvenient facts. The EFB was a vehicle fully supported by peter’s and opposed by National.
    Your comments appear to give peter’s some credit for disclosing these dodgy “donations”. They were pried out of him with a big crowbar, he did not fess up. He was backed into a corner by his repeated denials.

  45. T-rex 45

    Barnsley – You going to take a stance on a Peters/National coalition? Or are you a complete hypocrite?

  46. higherstandard 46

    Lynn

    So according to the polls around %50 of NZ voters are hypocrites … really ?

    While you entitled to be partisan that’s a bit over the top as is

    “When I see the Nat’s disclose all of their dirty anonymous donations from the same year then I may get interested in Winstons anonymous donations.”

    Why are the Nat donations dirty ?

    From my perspective I think the reason people are overly vexed with Winston, and especially the reason the media is vexed, is that he appears to have lied repeatedly or at the very least put him self in a position where he could blatantly mislead without leaving a trail or the while throwing abuse back at his detractors.

    To expect the media not to go after him like a pack of dogs after his behaviour over the issue is somewhat naive.

    T-Rex re a coalition I said sometime ago a joint release from both National and Labour stating that he’d be last cab off the rank would be great – but he’d turn it around and use it to his advantage – honestly you don’t know whether to laugh or cry when there’s twats like him in parliament – unfortunately he’s not the only one, there’s plenty more that’d take his mantle if we don’t see him again in a new parliament.

  47. T-rex. I am vehemently opposed to a coalition involving Peter’s. I would rather see a Phill Goff led labour govt than anything involving the baubleator. In fact a Goff led Labour would be okay with me all round.
    I have made this comment at a few places now but in light of the attitude of Steve and to a lesser degree IPrent it bears repeating.

    You guys have made much mirth with your “eating a dead rat” comments over the last year or so. I am enjoying the fact that many of you are now being forced to participate in “eating a dead poodle”.
    Accusing others of hypocrisy when participating in a weak defense of Winston Peter’s takes irony to a whole new level.

  48. T-rex 48

    Good man – I retract my previous comment then, apologies.

  49. lprent 49

    hs: Are you claiming that 50% of NZers would vote National? I’ll beleive that when I see a credible poll – ie an election.

    But I’m really just using the expression of ‘supporters’ in the same way that the right has been over the last few years. People who actively work or pay for the political party.

    As you’re aware, I oppose anonymous donations for any party. It should all be public.

    But I’ve been observing on the right blogs by the active supporters of the right can only be described as blatant hypocrisy. In effect they are saying that it was wrong for Winston to have anonymous donations.

    Both the Nat’s and ACT have been lapping at the anonymous trough for as long as I’ve been observing politics. We have absolutely no idea who has been supporting them.

    Similarly, there has been a lot of speculation about what the donor gets out of it. Well exactly the same question applies to both National and ACT.

    The right has been speculating that Winston knew his donor. Well I have exactly the same question for both National and Act.

    So hs – do you support anonymous donations at all?

  50. Are you suggesting that your labour party has never lapped at the trough of anon donations IP?
    The whole anon donation thing is tricky. For a start corporations or big private companies may want to donate to party X in the open, but these very donations may see them targeted by party Y. I can see why some entities would not want there donations exposed to the light. It is unfortunate for labour and the poodle that they offered the begging bowl to a big mouth.

  51. monkey-boy 51

    Dedicated to the Labour Party and the Standard…

    “You know” hissed Lector “I once had a little meat of Brash becasue he’s been recieiving cash and lying to me. I had him with some farver beans and a fine chardonnay.”
    “fufufufuufufufuu” Clarkisse winced.
    “So Clarkiss” hissed Winstable Lector. “Tell me your greatest fears, and I promise I will help you…”
    Calrkisse knew she must surrender to this hypnotic presence. It was the only way she was going to get the numbers she needed to stay in power for just a little longer.
    “It’s when I was on my farm.” she began. “As a child.”
    “Good, Clarkisse.” said Lector, Were you ‘po white trash, Clarkisse? DIdi you want to take revenge on all those rich folk who so derided your manners, accent and clumsy social graces?”
    Winstable Lector had hit a nerve, but Clarkisse couldn’t stop. She had to unload.
    “It was at the end of the season. We rounded up all the little sheep into the big barn. They were ready for slaaughter. I could hear them crying, confused and frightened. They needed someone to lead them, into the light and show them a golden dawn. and the slaughterman was coming.”
    “You wanted to do the right thing. What stopped you, Clarkisse?” said Winstable.
    “I knew if I let them live, and let them out, and had to listen to them crying anymore, they might start to wake up the neighbours, and then people would come to see what all the fuss was about. It was horrible, but I simply had to make them shut up. So when the slaughterer came. I just told them to all be very quiet, like good little sheep and that everything would be alright.”
    “And did it work?”
    “Yes. They all did as they were told and went very quiet. Then the slaughterman went round and slit their little throats one by one, without a word of complaint.
    Clarkisse buried her head in her hands. and sobbed; I can still remember it – the silence of the sheep.

  52. infused 52

    lprent, firstly, if you don’t want people to have their say, don’t let people comment. Wiping out peoples comments like that is retarded.

    [lprent: It is a comment trait that I’ve seen on other blogs. It is definitely retarded back in a show trial trope, and I find it deeply offensive. It is designed to stifle debate by proporting to show ‘facts’ when it merely shows a ‘hidden’ opinion. This is the first time I have seen it here for a long time, so I made an example of it. ]

    Secondly, the right are not blogging about the anonymous donation its self. It’s the fact that peters has lied and support the EFB when he was doing exactly what it was against.

    The fact that it was Owen Glen makes it even more interesting.

  53. lprent 53

    bb: I couldn’t give a shit about Winston.

    However as I said above – when the Nat’s disclose their anonymous donors publically, then I’ll throw the first stone.

    Until then anyone who attempts to smear on the basis of of disclosed donation when their party is benefiting from ‘anonymous’ donations is a hypocrite.

    so bb: do you support having anonymous donations?

  54. monkey-boy 54

    lprent – as relevant is the question ‘Why did Helen Clark recant from anonymous donations after her initial approach to the EFB?” was it because she would have lost Winston’s support for it?

    To be brief, this shady kind of behaviour has been positively endorsed by the EFA – has it not? Is this what happens when you put the fox in charge of the hen-house?

  55. higherstandard 55

    Lynn

    I don’t really care about anonymous donations – for the sake of transparency however I believe it would be best for them to be outlawed.

    As I said the reason people are vexed is Winston’s behaviour over the whole episode.

    And why are donations to National dirty ?

  56. lprent 56

    bb: I’m sure that the NZLP has had anon donations – it is listed.

    But I feel that there is only one way to resolve possible conflicts of interest. They should ALL be declared. For instance I’d be incredibly interested right now in what donations have gone from the insurance industry to the Nat’s.

    If that means that the donation supply dries up, then so be it. It is preferable that happens rather than the alternative of hidden conflicts of interest.

  57. I do and I don’t.
    Allow me to try and make sense of the top line.
    I am very uncomfortable with political parties plundering the public purse. I am similarly uncomfortable with anonymous donations.
    If we ban anonymous donations, the parties that fail to fund raise will campaign for public funding. If we deny them public funding they will campaign to allow anonymous donations.
    As we have seen with the cheque that features on the front of the Dom today, the unscrupulous will always find a way to circumvent the rules.
    Which brings me back to my first sentence.
    I do and I don’t. I would like to be more precise in my answer but I don’t know what the alternative would end up looking like.

    Of course this whole story is not about anonymous donations at all, because they are no longer anonymous.
    It is more akin to cash for favours.

    I am trying to get all angry and sanctimonious about it (so I can comment “in character”) but I have found myself distracted of late with issues and problems a little closer to home.
    We really have become stuck with difficult choices in this country. Many people will vote this year for the party they distrust or dislike the least. That is the choice I am facing.

  58. lprent 58

    hs: The problem is that I don’t know that the Nat’s anonymous donations are not dirty. There is nothing to indicate that they aren’t apart from a rather spurious “chinese wall”. I suspect that works as well as they usually do – it doesn’t.

    So I make the presumption that they are dirty in the absence of any proof to the contrary.

    In this I’m following the same level of proof (presumption of guilt) as is displayed by

    monkey-boy
    infused
    bb
    santi

    Hell most of the above.

    What I’m saying is that if you work on presumption of guilt about anon donations, then you are a hypocrite not to apply the same standard to them all.

    BTW: infused – you are making the presumption that Winston is lying about what he knew. Do you have proof or is this just a presumption of guilt?

  59. lprent 59

    bb: 😉 If you want to raise the same level of ire, then give up smoking. Each reduction in nicotine will raise your ire levels up considerably..

    Of course you may have to start smoking to use this technique….

    Lynn

  60. We are all using presumption IP. As you presume dirt in the case of nationals anon donations you can hardly mock those same presumptions aimed at labour and Winston.

  61. I tried being a nonsmoker earlier this year. My IRE O Meter broke!

  62. Daveski 62

    First, although it’s belated, SP has at least posted something when he most likely figured he was on a hiding to nothing.

    The issue isn’t the donations per se but the fact that it *appears* to most as if a Minister has lied. Winston made a big issue of the NO and this has come back to bite him where it hurts.

    This is the issue and as such is a serious one.

    What makes it even more interesting is that the left and Labour/Clark *appears* to have been compliant in this for obvious political reasons. This is consistent with the failure of the left (generalisation) to even acknowledge magnitude of the issue.

    At least we can all agree that politics would be better without him, although he strangely enough has cult status in racing circles.

  63. dave 63

    Steve, try reading the Cabinet Manual.It may assist on dong a better blog post than you have done, because your post is at odds with Cabinet guidelines.

    A legal defence fund set up for a court case involving Peters received a donation from Owen Glenn and, as per his strict practice, the lawyer, Brian Henry, involved did not reveal to Peters that Glenn was one of the donors to that fund. I see nothing wrong with that practice on Henry’s part

    Again, read the Cabinet Manual. It does. Henry and Peters have colluded. Owen Glenn donated to Winston Peters. Accepting payment for any other activities requires the prior approval of the Prime Minister.

    This requires Henry to disclose it to Helen Clark, if not to Peters, assuming the checque was not made out to NZF.

  64. Tim 64

    Winston has been sliming his way through the corridors of power for years. I’m not at all surprised by this latest imbroglio. What the hell was his lawyer thinking?

    I actually think the bigger issue is Winston’s racist diatribes about immigrants and “asians”. I am tired of the disharmony sowed by people like him, as then all New Zealanders are assumed to have the same bigoted views as he does. It also gives morons like Peter Low the opportunity to complain about the treatment of “asians” in New Zealand, as if they are a homogenous group of people that he represents.

    I care more about Winston’s lowest-common-denominator policies than where he gets his donations from and I have a genuine fear of the man getting any more power than he already has.

  65. Vanilla Eis 65

    dave: please tell me where Winston sits in cabinet, if you can?

    Because, as far as I was aware, Winston isn’t a member of Cabinet – unless of course you know something I don’t?

    Stop using the Cabinet Manual as your truncheon – you’re much better off using the fact that he’s an elected official that appears to have lied to the public.

  66. monkey-boy 66

    I have made this assertion before about the ‘attack-Key’ tendency that it is ruining the Labour Party.
    Now this.
    You can accuse me of ‘trolling’ or of being fake, or being a ‘pretendy-lefty’ or whatever you like, but I can’t help but feel that if you had this kind of dirt on John Key, you would be singing a very different song.
    One of you guys suggested that I join a political party to get myself a better education in response to my evident distaste for the way this last two parliaments have been run.
    I thought – well, if Helen Clark is booted out, and there is a possible chance for the Labour Party to rebuild itself, I might consider that.

    But honestly, If this is the standard of honesty required, think that Labour Party is beyond help. Is there not a single individual in the whole f**n Party who is willing to stand up and be counted? and ask the hard questions? The same goes for National (perhaps that will change after QT today).

    Who is the only one with the cahones to get on with actually exploring this travesty?

    Rodney Hide.

    FFS.

  67. Aj 67

    Robinsod “And having heard Angry Bill English talking it down this morning (‘we don’t really know if it’s an issue for the pecuniary committee ‘) I’m starting to think they’re a bit worried about getting flanked on this issue and finding the light cast on them ”

    Exactly. I heard him too and it smacked of laying a clear path of retreat. He talked about uncertainty over the issue. Read between the lines guys. The Nats have the same skeletons in their closets….

  68. I share monkey boys concerns. When we have to rely on Rodney “widow twanky” Hide and his amazing technicolour dreamcoat to be the moral arbiter of parliament we have plumbed new depths……… On both sides of the house.

  69. Aj, I think you are completely wrong. This is not a ghost of xmas past problem for National. It is more a ghost of xmas future problem. They are facing the unspeakable horror of having to kiss his butt after the election.
    And the old adage counts here;
    Be careful the arse you kick on the way up as you may have to kiss it on the way back down.

  70. lprent 70

    mb: Look – I’d attack anyone about anon donations.

    What gets me in this case is the hypocrisy about scale. The Nat’s in 2005 (?) had the biggest single anonymous donation in NZ history – what was it 1.8 million? Do I hear you squawking about that? No, I hear both you and most of the right squawking about 1/18th of that amount.

    That 1.8 million was just one of a number of anon donations going back to at least 1994.

    Sure the other parties get it as well. But the only other party that has even come close to Nationals score is the bloody Act. This is the party trying to market itself as being ‘clean’?

    Any party who gets anon donations should be regarded as being dirty until proven otherwise in my opinion. I don’t believe that a chinese wall solution works. It sure didn’t with Winston’s legal fund.

    But the relative dirtiness should be in scale with the donations.

    captcha: out- Ricketts
    ??

  71. Quoth the Raven 71

    So Winnie is in the Pooh. It looks like old ways die hard for some former National MPs. This Vela family thing makes me far more concerned than the Owen Glen donations. Thanks Nick C for pointing out that Duncan Garner has a blog I wonder if it will be as much a waste of time as his political commentry on the evening news.

  72. Murray M 72

    [lprent: you have been previously banned.
    Whoever is letting him through the spam filter, please desist.]

  73. higherstandard 73

    Lynn

    “Any party who gets anon donations should be regarded as being dirty until proven otherwise in my opinion. I don’t believe that a chinese wall solution works. It sure didn’t with Winston’s legal fund.

    But the relative dirtiness should be in scale with the donations.”

    So Labour and National are the only parties in NZ that should be regarded as dirty according to the 2007 returns ?

    Labour 230k of anon returns vs Nationals 533k.

  74. Murray M 74

    [lprent: you have been previously banned.
    Whoever is letting him through the spam filter, please desist.]

  75. lprent 75

    Walk it backwards to oh say 1994. Taking a single point on any graph is just asking for a lousy diagnosis.

    With all of the graphs around here we must have one dealing with anon donations to parties. I could look it up but I’m trying to debug some missing messages (and getting withdrawal symptoms)

  76. Anita 76

    The Vela donations are interesting for two reasons:

    1) They show a deliberate skirting of the electoral finance rules at the time (multiple separated donations barely below the anon threshhold). People who are currently wailing and gnashing their teeth about these donations but campaigned against the EFA are showing some pretty blatant hypocrisy.

    2) The fact that a major family within the racing lobby was skirting the law to fund NZF at the same time the racing lobby was either skirting or breaching campaigning rules to support National (Party Vote National Stakes anyone?) is equally illustrative of deeply dubious practices.

  77. Aj 77

    Helen Clark really seems to be enjoying herself this afternoon in the house 🙂

  78. Her schoolmarmish put down of Judith Collins was embarrassing. But she is weathering well the vicious assault john key has brutally delivered with his damp limp bus ticket. The individual eulogies that all the Winston first members gave their leader was touching.
    The only good thing about watching Cullen speak is the view of Louisa Wall behind him. I am not sure whether Louisa Wall looks hot because I know she is a lesbian or because she is just hot..

  79. Aj 79

    bb your last sentence really says all we need to know about you.

    And Collins got exactly what she deserved.

  80. Annette king just delivered the most direct and lucid answer I have ever seen her make when responding to Simon Power’s supplementary on why Baker was not wearing a waist restraint when he stabbed a screw last week.

  81. Aj. I meant it was embarrassing for Collins… And excuse me for being a healthy male!

  82. gobsmacked 82

    Pretty fair assessment from B-Bill, on the Big Showdown. Key had a hand full of trump cards to play, and wasted them. Clark was hardly troubled. The NZ First MPs’ tribute questions were irrelevant but they did enough to make Peters seem like an innocent victim. Only Hide seemed interested in going in for the kill, National were hopeless.

  83. David Parker had just announced that he is in an open relationship with Jeanette Fitzsimmons!!!!!!!!!
    The dangers of blogging with one ear on the telly.

  84. Rex Widerstrom 84

    T-Rex:

    I hope Clark hangs him out to dry, because he deserves it. If that ruins any chances of a coalition – so be it. Integrity isn’t free…

    Nicely put. Indeed it isn’t. And congratulations on yours.

    SP:

    “It’s really really interesting to see the righties coming over all faint over this ‘secrecy’ are the same ones who opposed the EFA and wanted National to continue getting millions secret money.”

    You’re (deliberately?) mistaking a few bloggers for the majority of the Bill’s opponents. That’s called… what was it Lynn was saying above? Ah yes… “stifl[ing] debate by proporting to show ‘facts’ when it merely shows a ‘hidden’ opinion”.

    I oppose the EFA. I oppose this cover-up. Yet I don’t want any party to receive anonymous money and I’d argue that the vast bulk of people who opposed the EFA (myself included) did so a) precisely because it was ineffective in stopping the influence of anonymous donations on politics and b) it was therefore clearly intended as a political weapon aimed unfairly at Labour’s opponents.

    I can only assume you’re characterising the HRC (yadda yadda… I can’t be bothered listing all the organisations, many of the “lefties”, who warned the government this law was crap) are National supporters in favour of vast anonymous donations so as to “stifle debate” then.

    A simple Bill saying, as you’ve suggested, that all donations of more than $200 to any party, politician, or entity connected with the foregoing need to be declared would have met with the approval of most EFA opponents I suspect.

    It seems Peters was not allowed to know who his donors were as a condition of his lawyer’s services, which removes any chance of corruption. No rules or laws appear to have been broken.

    And on this you take the word of none other than… Winston. Remind me to demand you’re on the jury if I’m ever on trial, Steve. A denial seemingly equates to innocence.. or is that just for FOL’s (Friends of Labour’s)?

    Your desperation to ensure none of this sticks to Labour risks making you look like a dupe as more information comes out (and trust me, it will…)

    For the record the truth about Winston’s knowledge of – and role in – donations made to Henry’s trust should come out soon now certain sections of the media have spoken to me and other people. But I won’t relate the evidence here as I don’t want The Standard hit with a writ… though it’s tempting, as the “Winston can do no wrong” chorus might start to sing a different tune.

    That Clark and Key aren’t elbowing one another aside to be first to the microphones to state that, no matter what the outcome of the election, their party won’t entertain the idea of any relationship with NZF, says everything about morality in NZ politics. The irony is, the level of disillusionment and disgust with politics and politicians is such that any leader taking such a principled stance would probably gain enough votes that being propped up by NZF wouldn’t be an issue.

    But principles also require guts, and clearly they too are sorely lacking.

  85. lprent 85

    I tried being a nonsmoker earlier this year. My IRE O Meter broke!

    I dropped down to one rollie per day instead of the usual 10-15 camels/day over a couple of months. But killing that last one – well it interfered too much with programming.. My main urge to a ciggie usually happens when I have a nasty bug to kill. So I relax down by coming on here and well……………

    The patches from Quitline seem to work quite well. I’m on the lowest dose each day and planning on dropping to every other day next week.

    But typical market. I went around 3 pharmacies and couldn’t find anyone who could tell me which type of patch to use and who had the patches. Rang up quitline, got good advice, and dockets a few days later to get a prescription. Classic case of a central system working well. Try them next time…..

  86. I tried the patches. They were a bugger to light.
    Smoking is the last vice left in my life. I am not ready yet.
    The doc has me on about 30 pills a day at the moment for various ailments. I am not going to add another drug to the list just yet.

  87. lprent 87

    Rex: The only real issue I see in all of this is the issue of transparency on political donations. But that is a whole lot bigger than Winston’s legal fund.

    However (as BB says) it will probably not get solved (despite my wishes) until the dog-whistling (aka DPF and friends) over public funding of the political process stops and we have a decent debate on the topic. Ultimately there is no such thing as free lunch, regardless of what the NZ public would sometimes like to believe. You either have transparency and probably more public funding of political parties, OR you take risks of corruption in the political institutions.

    It is a question of balance because I think that the level of donations will reduce markedly when it becomes fully transparent. I think that there will be a major shortfall in funding in all political parties. There simply aren’t that many people actually interested in politics in NZ.

    In the meantime, the really critical fix to the electoral law went through – a recognition of the true length of MMP election campaigns. I was getting really tired of having 6 to 9 month campaigns when all of the bloody law was related to 3 months. It was massively stupid. Instead of campaigning for marginal electorates, we’re campaigning across the whole country. Takes longer and requires more time – so the campaigns have been lengthening.

    If Winston lied to Helen and she finds out. Well that mistake tends to carry its own penalty based on past experience.

  88. lprent 88

    BB: Damn I thought that they were a rectal implant – I’ll try it your way…

  89. vto 89

    Havent read anything above but Peters really gets my blood boiling. Just two examples;

    1. Found to have illegally used taxpayer funds for other purposes (electioneering). Rather than pay it back he gives it to charity. All the jokes people made about doing the same with their taxes were not actually said in jest. It is a f$#&**g crock that he could do that. We, you know the taxpayer, the grinder of the cogs, could never do that.

    2. Claims that money paid to cover his legal bills is not for his benefit etc. Try that one with the IRD and see yourself get ripped to shreds by the most powerful dept in the govt. Again, we, you know the taxpayer, the grinder of the cogs, cold never do that.

    Winston has created himself many serious enemies with his recent conduct. This current one will hopefully see the end of him forever.

  90. dave 90

    Vanilla Ellis:dave: please tell me where Winston sits in cabinet, if you can?
    Because, as far as I was aware, Winston isn’t a member of Cabinet – unless of course you know something I don’t?Stop using the Cabinet Manual as your truncheon

    What a stupid thing to say. What relevance is your comment? Anybody would think from your comment that the Cabinet Manual is merely a directive to Cabinet Ministers. It’s not. and Vanilla Ellis doesn’t even know that about NZ politics.

  91. T-Rex. At the time of Glenn’s contribution to the legal defence fund there was no controversy over him. Labour was quite happy to have him openly donate to them. The beat up only came this year, the donation was in 2005.

  92. T-rex 92

    Sorry – unclear – I meant Peters denial of the contribution a few months ago: the ‘NO’ placard.

    I’m not saying Peters should have refused the donation at the time at all, simply that he shouldn’t have lied about it. Again. And again. And again.

  93. Vanilla Eis 93

    Good lord dave, you’ve unearthed me – I’m not actually Geoffrey Palmer posting under a pseudonym, and I did read ‘Cabinet Manual’ lexically.

    You did say this, which confused me perhaps:

    This [Cabinet Manual] requires Henry to disclose it to Helen Clark, if not to Peters, assuming the checque was not made out to NZF.

    What makes Peters so special here? Are all supporting members or their lawyers required to make such disclosures to the Prime Minister? (say, would Ron Mark have to disclose similar donations to his lawyer?)

    I’m here to learn…

    Captcha: Correction 80 (Good lord, was I asleep for the other 79?)

  94. Rex Widerstrom 94

    Lynn, aside from your downplaying of the importance of Winston’s apparent deceit I agree with what you’ve said.

    There are certainly those who’d like the taxpayer to fund political parties (Gee, part of me does… it’d be like government departments, all looking for consultants on whom to spend their money within the allotted period lest they get given less next time!). But I can’t see if flying in NZ – they’d have more chance convincing people to subsidise used car salesmen. Actually that’s not fair to used car salesman… it’d be as popular as asking people to fund night vision goggles for peeping toms.

    But that doesn’t mean the parties have to turn to anonymous donations – they might be forced to re-think their campaigning, and that’d be a good thing. The largest expense in a campaign is the use of “old” media – everything from TV ads to corflute signs (I regularly challenge people to find me a single voter who’ll attest to a Damascean conversion upon coming in sight of a corflute sign) to suits who tell them what to say in the ads and print on the signs.

    A drying-up of funds might force a re-think of their campaigning and in particular a move toward proper web-based campaigning – not a glossy site with four smirking (or two Photoshopped) pics of “the leader” but something that had real interaction and encouraged accountability.

    I could point to a few unimportant campaigns I’ve won for peanuts using such cheap but highly democratic ‘guerilla’ tactics but there are far bigger and more impressive examples, from Jesse Ventura to Howard Dean.

    (And people like you and I who know a bit about politics and this interweb thingy might still get rich quick 😉 )

  95. lprent 95

    Rex: 🙂 I code for export so I don’t have to put up with corporates of any kind.

    I can’t really be bothered getting rich. If I’d have wanted to do so then I’d have done it a while ago. Seemed like quite a pointless activity to me – what was that phrase? “Whoever has the most toys at the end wins” pretty well sums up the futility of that approach. Besides it would interfere with playing around with ideas and things.

    I do all of my various non-work activities on a voluntary basis. That gives me more leverage to concentrate on the things I think are important. In politics that is the next election, not the upcoming one. My main focus at present is pretty much on 2011, not 2008. That is why I’m interested in some of this web stuff now. I’m just ssurprised at how useful it has been this time around.

    But as you’re probably aware, political parties are very slow movers.

  96. Mike Collins 96

    “My main focus at present is pretty much on 2011, not 2008.”

    Given up them game already Lynn? 😉

    [lprent: Nope – at this point I think that the outcome is going to be too close to call. Mostly because the Nat’s seem to have problems playing with anyone. You can understand the increasingly frenetic calls from mid-right to dump MMP. It doesn’t favour people who can’t cooperate.

    I work on the infrastructure levels, not the usual tabloid political level. I usually work on things 3-4 years before I think they are really required.]

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