The Dominion Post has published some pretty damning evidence indicating Winston Peters’ connections with the Vela family. According to the Dom Winston’s right-hand man, Ross Meurant, was telling the Vela’s that their donations to New Zealand First would give them “input” into the party’s policies.
Like many others I’m always hesitant to predict the end of Winston but this may be it.
I’d be interested to know who was behind the leaked box of papers however. The documents are very detailed and few would have had access to them. It could be Meurant but it’s unlikely he’d expose his own role in the dealing without a strong motivation.
I suspect that at the very least National knew this was coming as it would explain John Key’s unusually firm stance of refusing to deal with New Zealand First but I doubt we’ll ever know where the information came from.
Update: I’ve been taking a closer look at the material and I’m now certain National would not have had anything to do with this as some material implicates the last National government in Winston’s dealings:
Mr Peters: “You gotta do better than that, Meurant. Don’t these people know how dangerous I can be [laughs].” Mr Peters then says something to the effect of Vela interests having been saved millions in tax liability by Mr Peters.
That’s from November 1999.