The Privileges Committee has reported back. Peters is censured for not declaring that he had made a pecuniary gain from his lawyer taking donations for Peters’ legal fund. A minority of the Committee, the Labour and NZF MPs, disagreed with this censure pointing out that the evidence given to the Committee was that, had Peters sought official advice on whether to he needed to declare the donation to the fund, he would have been told he did not. The report also recommended that Parliament force Peters to re-submit his declarations of pecuniary interest for the last three years. The majority report finds Peters committed a contempt of Parliament. The House will consider the report today.
So, the committee found what everyone knew: Peters story doesn’t add up. But it also shows that this story isn’t really about anything significant. Oh, no, a politician didn’t make the efforts he should have to find out what benefit he may have gained from a legal donation, his form was wrong as a result, and he made up a story to try to cover himself. Shoddy behaviour to be sure but nothing that actually impacts on the substance of government.
Can we get on to discussing how to raise wages, whether we should break up ACC, and how to protect our environment now? Hide will miss the attention, but I suspect Kiwis will welcome coverage of issues that affect their lives instead of the latest gossip about who knew what when regarding some legal donations.