Spinbusting: NZF’s donations are Labour’s business

Written By: - Date published: 8:59 am, July 17th, 2008 - 52 comments
Categories: election funding, labour, national, nz first, slippery, spin - Tags:

National is calling on Helen Clark to investigate alleged donations by Owen Glenn to New Zealand First (which, if they happened, were perfectly legal). Consider what that means: National is advocating for the leader of a political party to be able to delve into the internal finances of another political party.

That would be a charter for corruption; a grossly undemocratic power for one political power to wield over others. There’s no way if John Key were PM that he would claim the power to investigate another party’s finances in similar circumstances. 

National knows that. They don’t really want Clark to investigate NZF’s finances. It’s just that this is the political scandal of the day. They can’t attack NZF, whom they might need in a post-election deal to govern, but they’re always keen to find a way to smear Labour. So, they’ve generated this ridiculous hit and run attack.

52 comments on “Spinbusting: NZF’s donations are Labour’s business ”

  1. Steve: so Labour is OK with ignoring serious allegations against a senior government minister i.e. Minister of Foreign Affairs ?

  2. Bryan – give the monkey a break. I’d suggest that Labour should indeed pass law (under urgency) to allow them to investigate NZ First’s accounts. They should then use that law to uncover the funding behind National’s “anonymous” trusts and clear up the question of whether the Nats sold their ACC policy off to the insurance council.

  3. mike 3

    Helen needs to get involved, one of her senior govt ministers or Labours biggest donor is lying.

  4. Pascal's bookie 4

    “…whether the Nats sold their ACC policy off to the insurance council”

    It might also clear up the question of whether the Nat’s sold their party leadership to the BRT in the ‘no Brash, no cash’ deal.

  5. Matthew Pilott 5

    Bryan, if it were a serious allegation, The Herald would be more than happy to look at NZFs accounts, as per Winston’s offer. After all why in God’s Green Earth would they be happy to rely on one email, versus carte blanche access to the actual accounts. And surely they stand by their accusation right? Or maybe they have no balls, as I think Winston’s clearly shown.

    Have a look for yourself if you haven’t seen this little side-show.

    And while we’re at it, good on National for dumping on a generous and wealthy expat: “He also expressed disappointment at the fuss made over his political donations, saying: “I just don’t find New Zealand a very friendly place and it’s unlikely I will go back.”

    P.S. Sod, top bloody idea, lets open those accounts once & for all!

  6. vto 6

    Winston Bjeikle-Peterson said he received no donation from OG. OG has said he did.

    Somebody is lying.

    If its W then he needs to answer to that.

    Pretty simple.

  7. Swampy 7

    “National is advocating for the leader of a political party to be able to delve into the internal finances of another political party.”

    No, National is advocating for some credibility for the fact that a Government minister might be a political liability.

    And National also is pointing out that Labour passed this Electoral Finance Act to put this huge State scrutiny over political party financing.

  8. Sorry to go off topic, though for some reason my login to kiwiblog is “broken”.

    Anyway could someone who is able to post plesae go and point out in the NBR post that (as at last week) Stephen Franks advertising car did not carry authorisation (and is bloody ugly to boot, c’mon gold beetle with blue stickers?!?)

  9. vto 9

    So who is telling the truth and who is lying?

  10. KITNO – I would but for some reason I am unable to log on also…

  11. Matthew Pilott 11

    Swampy, for Labour to ascertain Winnie’s creditility, or as you put it “National is advocating for some credibility for the fact that a Government minister might be a political liability.” then “National is advocating for the leader of a political party to be able to delve into the internal finances of another political party.’

    The two necessarily follow each other, unless you can give us some other method by which it may be ascertained that Peters is telling the truth, or not. If not by allowing Labour to delve into NZFs accounts (and, by law, presumably every other party’s accounts), how else will the matter be resolved? Do tell.

  12. Lew 12

    As I see it the strongest course of action avail;able to Clark is to seek a public statement from Peters (which I believe he’s already given) that he received no such donation from Glenn, on the understanding that if he’s later found (by a proper authority such as the Electoral Commission) that he loses his cabinet post.

    However it’s not beyond the realm of possibilities that if Peters was stripped of his post, NZF would withdraw confidence support from the government, forcing an early election.

    Interesting times. What we have now is a race condition between whatever investigations are underway into this affair, and the general election.

    L

  13. Daveski 13

    SP – why did you choose not to point out the issue that there is the allegation that Glenn is perceived to be trying to buy his way into the Consul position? This is one of the main reasons why the issue has legs.

    As for looking at accounts, anyone who has done 4th form accounting knows that looking at the accounts proves absolutely nothing. As has been stated elsewhere, Glenn could have deposited money into a secondary account which then channelled the money in NZF account. Both Winston and Glenn are then right.

    The Standard should be the last to accuse anyone of “scandal of the day” tactics.

    I also wonder what response we would have from the Standard if the roles were changed and it was NP and say EB 🙂

    Captcha: idealism barbering (I couldn’t make this stuff up :))

  14. Monty 14

    Labour and Winston have already lost the battle on this this one. Labour is tainted by association. The country is now calling Winston a liar. Clark’s support for Winston “he is doing his job with integrity” is making her a joke.

    Thank Labour – between this, inflation, truckie protest, you guys are handing the election to National on a plate – and we appreciate it.

  15. Steve deliberately ignores two issues, which undermine his thesis of see no evil, hear no evil.

    The first is that the donor in question is also Labour’s biggest donor.

    The second is that the donor was seeking favours from Peters in his role as Foreign Affairs Minister.

    There is also the third issue, that the same donor is alleged (by description not by name) by the Maori Party to have offered them $250,000 if they support Labour.

    No one is suggesting Clark should set up a Commission of Inquiry into NZ First. But what some of us are asking her to do, is call on Owen Glenn to speak up and confirm whether or not the e-mail is fabricated or not. Why is she not calling on him to do so?

    Incidentally a media organisation has tried to take up the offer of access to the NZ First audited accounts and they were refused.

    [you’re advocating for the Prime Minister to have the right to investigate the internal affairs of another party. That’s anti-democratic. You’re supposed points are red herrings. This is just another pathetic attack. SP]

  16. Matthew: “Bryan, if it were a serious allegation, The Herald would be more than happy to look at NZFs accounts, as per Winston’s offer.”

    Winston has offered access to NZ Firsts accounts/bank statements and his bank statements. That doesn’t prevent a third party or trust having received and spent the money on Winstons behalf perhaps an “over-enthusiastic supporter”.

  17. Pascal's bookie 17

    “Incidentally a media organisation has tried to take up the offer of access to the NZ First audited accounts and they were refused.”

    Which media organisation? Or are you being coy?

  18. Matthew Pilott 18

    Thank Labour – between this, inflation, truckie protest…

    Monty – isn’t it between tax cuts, the wage gap, the power shortage? No? Oh, what happened there? Hit and run eh, nice and ‘substantial’ of you. Funny thing is in two weeks time you’ll have happily moved on to the next topic without even realising you’re being taken for a ride.

    Bryan, that’s some pretty serious corruption allegation there isn’t it? Surely given the ‘legs’ this issue supposedly has, something like that would have been dug up by now? Wouldn’t that make the issue a whole lot worse, not declearing a donation? If that were the case I doubt anyone would care about this as it pales in significance. And I very much doubt Peters would open up his accounts if it would put him under than much added scrutiny…

    David Farrar, what kind of a cheap smear is this: “The first is that the donor in question is also Labour’s biggest donor“? Take that smut back to kiwiblog mate, it has no place here. Oh lord, Labour must be guilty of…Something!…because they got money from Glenn. Low.

    See David, what you and your mates have done is turn New Zealand into an embarrassment for your agenda-driven crusade. Someone who was previously happy to donate $7m, and then some, to worthy non-political causes has now said “I just don’t find New Zealand a very friendly place and it’s unlikely I will go back.

    Why do you think that is? I’m guessing it’s something along the lines of ‘you all need to grow up’. The least you could do is save us all further embarrassment and leave Glenn out of it – you of all people should be demanding that he be left alone. Or was the Free Speech Coalition just a bullshit front? Obviously. What a joke.

  19. Daveski 19

    Based on your response Matt, this is obviously a touchy topic.

    I thought Labour wanted to make donations transparent? Or does that only apply to NP and the EB?

    You too choose to avoid any comment on the Consul issue. I wonder why?

    Or is this a joke too?

  20. CMR 20

    I think that Mr Glenn’s lawyer ought counsel him regarding s102(2) Crimes Act 1961. There is little point advocating one politician (Clark) to examine the conduct of another (Peters.)

  21. Matthew sees no inappropriate linkages between donating to Labour, donating to NZ First and offering the Maori Party money to support Labour and lobbying the Govt for a diplomatic appointment. How extraordinary.

    Now maybe it is all wrong. Maybe Owen did not donate to anyone but Labour despite twice having said he has. All I am calling for is for Helen to ask Owen to speak up and tell the truth. Why are people against the truth coming out?

    Pascal – I understand the media organisation in question will do a story on the refusal, so I don’t want to undermine that.

  22. David. Don’t be so stupid. You don’t want the Prime Minister of New Zealand to go around investigating the internal dealings of other parties.

    If there are any legal issues, they are for the appropriate authorities to deal with, not for the PM.

    by the way, how the donations to the Free Speech Coalition going?

  23. Pascal's bookie 23

    Righto David, thanks. Could you deny that it’s Wishart?

  24. Matthew Pilott 24

    You tell me Daveski, to what importance do you place in the position of Honorary consul to Monaco? Last I looked into it, it’s a title that bears more costs to the holder then benefits, akin to a volunteer position, but don’t let that get in the way of a hollow story. So, in sum, yes, it’s also a joke and a beat up – do a little research.

    I am not happy that anonymous donations are still allowed, I think that should have been included (at least having details registered with the electoral commission, if not the public). But what has that to do with this? Has the EFA been violated somehow? Please, explain…

    David sees no hypocracy in his support of one embarrassing disaster, the supposed FSC, which purported to be for exactly what he is now happy to criticise; another embarrassment – the hounding of a private individual who, within his rights, isn’t talking to the media, purely because of the furore instigated by David and his mates.

    I have nothing against “the truth coming out” and haven’t suggested this, despite the machinations of Mr Farrar’s fertile imagination, I’m just a little over the childish and embarrassing starategy that David and his mates are using, and the fact that they’ve singlehandedly alienated a generous and wealthy expat for their agenda.

    But please spell it out, without any feather-dusting, David – why is this Labour’s issue, simply because Glenn donated to Labour. Is there a legal issue relating to accepting a donation that says you’re responsible for the actions of the donor for an indeterminate and indefinite period thereafer? I think not.

    So what’s your problem? From where springs the idea that the solution is for Clark to pursue Glenn? Shall I ask her to call the Waitemata trust next and find out where/who the Nats ACC policy comes from?

  25. Daveski 25

    MP – perception is the issue here no more no less. The perception that someone is trying to buy favours is the meat and drink of any scandal. It doesn’t matter what or where.

    Again, I point out that if the players were changed, your view would no doubt be quite different.

  26. The FSC has and will publish the names of every donor. It will also publish its expenditure. Probably the most transparent lobby group in the country.

    Steve again misses what I said. He keeps up the red herring that we are calling on the PM to investigate. I am calling on the PM to publicly call on Owen Glenn to inform whether or not the e-mail is fabricated or not. Are you saying you don’t want to know if the e-mail is fabricated or not?

    Meanwhile Matthew P has the red herring the being a Consul is no big deal as it doesn’t get paid. This is the most idiotic argument around. Owen Glenn is worth $1.1 billion. Whether or not the Consul is paid $7,000 or $170,000 would be totally irrelevant to him.

    The fact is he wants it quite badly. He has spent months lobbying for it, so he obviously values the role. And the fact is the NZ Govt had already decided there was no need for a Consul despite a previous offer that was even backed by the local Monaco Govt. So there is clear evidence of special treatment for Glenn. And why would he get special treatment? Why would Mike Williams lobby Clark on his behalf? Because he is their largest donor.

    Why don’t you guys be honest. You are all terrified about the truth coming out. If this did not involve a party in Government with Labour, you would be demanding Police investigations, full opening of the books, everything under the sun.

    [you’re calling on the Prime Minister to contact a supposed donor to another poltiical party to inquire about that supposed donation. That’s called investigating. Maybe next you would like her to call the Insurance Council and ask how much they gave National via secret trusts? You’re being childish – advocating something you don’t really want, advocating giving an enourmous and unwarranted duty/power to the Prime Minister that would be disasterious for democracy and you’re doing it because you want to score a cheap political point. SP]

    [Also, on our blog have the decency to address your comments directly to the people you are addressing rather than in the third person. drop the theatrics. SP]

  27. Why don’t you guys be honest. You are all terrified about the truth coming out. If this did not involve a party in Government with Labour, you would be demanding Police investigations, full opening of the books, everything under the sun.

    Bro – WTF do you know about honesty? How about you honestly tell us where the phone calling for you polling is done from and who pays the bill? Come to think of it why don’t you honestly tell us if you have done polling or provided communications advice for the sensible sentencing trust? And if your honest answer to that is “yes” then perhaps you can honestly tell us whether you did so as part of a coordinating role between them and the National party.

    Oh and if you do feel the impulse to answer these questions honestly (and I doubt you will) then perhaps you can answer one that’s a bit more personal to me – what were the “repeated slander and lies” you supposedly banned me from your blog for?

    [Tane: Sod, let’s not have this degenerate into a flame war. If you want to ask David questions about his business arrangements then send him an email, don’t jack our threads.]

  28. mondograss 28

    Look, the only person who can really sort this out is Glenn and he’s not saying anything. Peters has said repeatedly and publicly there was no donation and has offered the Herald the chance to prove there was. The PM is taking him at his word since the only evidence we have to the contrary is an email that any half-decent IT person could fake. For my part, the NZ Herald need to front up with more substantial evidence otherwise they’re just another gutter tabloid and might as well hire Wishart as their editor.

  29. Steve: She doesn’t have to ring Owen, just call on him to tell the truth. Aren’t you at all puzzled why neither Clark nor Peters have even suggested Glenn should clear this issue up? It is the logical way out for everyone if there is nothing to hide.

    You want me to direct comments to you by name. Excellent. Steve – do you think it is desirable for Owen Glenn to confirm whether or not the e-mail is fabricated or not?

    You see this is the big difference between the Glenn issue and the stuff you keep pushing re the Insurance Council. There is not a shred of proof that the Insurance Council has made such a donation. It is a rumour. You don’t tend to give rumours a lot of credence. But the e-mail the Herald published is not a rumour. Unless it is fabricated it proves that Owen Glenn says he donated to NZ First. It is also a fact that Glenn has said previously he has donated to a party other than Labour.

    As for Robinsod, I am mindful of what Tane has said that this isn’t the forum, but to put your mind to rest my office is in Thorndon, has over 40 phone lines and my company pays the phone bills.

    I’m not allowed to confirm who individual clients are (but they are always welcome to confirm they use us) but I can actually state if someone never has been a client, and to dispel your over active imagination I have never done any work for the Sensible Sentencing Trust at all, and the idea I am some sort of co-ordinator between them and National is ludicrous and for the record entirely false.

    I don’t know if I have even met Garth McVicar. My entire contact with the SST was a couple of years ago I e-mailed them and suggested their offender database would be more useful as a wiki, and we had a total of around four e-mails on the issue.

  30. Mondograss – it is impossible to prove an print out of an e-mail is genuine or not, unless one gets access to the e-mail system.

    But the fact is Steve Fisher has stated the e-mail is is line with his recollection of his advice to Owen Glenn, although he can not recall exact details.

    And Audrey Young did get comment from Owen Glenn for her story. She spoke to him last Friday. He did not deny the e-mail was accurate. He said that he didn’t reveal the donation because he didn’t want more of a fuss for the Business School opening.

    So neither Glenn not Fisher have stated the e-mail is faked or forged. Only Peters has said it is. Are you saying he should be taken as the authority on this, when he was not one of the participants in the e-mail?

  31. Matthew Pilott 31

    David Farrar, in case you missed it, the costs of being consul are greater than the benefits. Let me put it this way for simplicity’s sake: It’s charity work, he’s trying to do this country a favour, while you and your mates piss all over him. Bravo. Idiotic indeed.

    But well done for completely avoiding my questions, and posing a few meaningless rhetorical ones of your own.

    I’ll ask again – why should Labour be scared? All they did was accept a donation. Is there a clause in any law anywhere that has made Labour responsible for the actions of one of their donors? You know as well as the rest of us that the answer is no, Labour has nothing to hide. Got any evidence of this ‘special treatment’ by the way?

    Or are you alluding to your pathetic ‘cash for honours’ scandal. Are you still toeing the disgraceful National line there, nothing to do with $7m for a business school? Or is that another one of those nasty ‘red herrings’?

    Why don’t you be honest, David, and admit that you’re purposefully alienating a generous donor to NZ in the name of grubby political expediency, and you have no legal or moral basis whatsoever to base your muckracking upon.

    Attack Peters and The Herald all you wish, but unless you’re accusing Glenn or Labour of breaking the law you’ve got nothing.

  32. Thank you for finally clearing that up david. I would recommend you change your office address with the companies office as it may be a (very minor) offense to list the wrong physical address with them.

    I’m assuming you don’t count your contact with Stephen Franks as contact with the SST?

    Any chance you’ll answer my last question?

  33. But back on topic – if the right believe Helen should make the behaviour of a Labour party donor her business then perhaps National should be owning the behaviour of its donors? Hmmm… where to start…

  34. Matthew Pilott 34

    Just out of interest, the only ‘special treatment’ would be the demand from the PM that a named suspected donor to another party come forward, despite there being no reason to do so apart from the individual clearing up a matter that is now in the hands of the party in question.

    Special indeed – you want to make damned sure he doen’t come back don’t you? He should have used a trust like your lot do to avoid the hassle but well done, string him up for not hiding an agenda! I doubt he’ll be back, whether it be a few hundred thousand for a political party or millions for a business school. I guess you’re happy about that right?

  35. Matthew – the issue for Labour is the same as for NZ First, if they did indeed receive money from Glenn – being a donor should not be the reason you get appointed a Consul to represent the NZ Govt. It is obvious Owen Glenn got special treatment in his request – he even had Mike Williams lobbying Helen on his behalf. And there are numerous non monetary benefits of being Consul.

    I am of course friendly with Stephen and no having a drink with Stephen is not having contact with the SST, just as having a drink with me or Jordan Carter is not having contact with InternetNZ. Again to take care of any vivid imagination I’ve never provided services or advice to Stephen in his SST role.

    As for your long ago banning, you made a number of false allegations about the FSC. When I corrected you on these, you didn’t even apologise for the false allegations but just went on to to make some further false allegations. You stated I lied about the costs of certain ads, when I did not – as you will see when the full accounts are published.

    And on a final note, I actually think it is a pity Owen Glenn will now not be Consul. He said if appointed he wanted to organise beach volleyball parties for Kiwis. That’s my kind of lateral thinking diplomat.

    But Glenn should have had his application taken on its merits. He should not have personally lobbed Winston on it if he was also secretly donating to Winston. Note I am saying if. He also should not have had Mike Williams lobbying Helen on his behalf when he is Labour’s biggest donor.

    If I was Glenn I would have sent a letter to the MFAT Chief Executive asking to be considered, and outlining my credentials.

  36. randal 36

    jeebus farrar. ceo’s dont hand those things out. ceo’s get told what to do and if they cant handle the jandle they get replaced. yes indeedy. now send me $50 for an elementary lesson in politics compared to veal aquisition. GO WINNIE.

  37. Edit: Tane – I’ve been accused of not apologising when I clearly did:

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2007/11/court_date_set_for_electoral_finance_bill_judicial_review.html#comment-36217

    I’ll leave it at that.

    [Tane: Sod, I said no more threadjacking.]

  38. Rex Widerstrom 38

    Look there’s two issues here.

    Issue 1: Did NZF get money from Glenn, how much, what for ete etc. None of Clark’s business.

    Issue 2: Did a Minister in her government (wearing whatever hat) tell a blatant lie to the public, thus (one would imagine) falling below the standards of conduct she would expect from her Ministry. Most definitely Clark’s business. Or Key’s if he happened to be PM.

    Unfortunately, because of the disparity between what Peters has said and what Glenn has (allegedly) said, to sort out Issue 2 Clark (or someone deputised by her) must look at Issue 1.

    It’s not generally appropriate for the leader of one party to inquire into the financial affairs of another, no. In fact the only circumstances I can think of that would justify this is exactly those that we have here – where the leader of the second party holds a position of responsibility in the Ministry of the first party and there is prima facie evidence he has lied to the public on a matter of importance. And, indeed, a matter on which both parties have endevaoured to project themselves as being crusaders for openness.

    Through his actions, Peters has opened the way for National to make political capital by associating Labour with the dubious actions of Peters. That gives Clark the moral authority to require the facts, IMO.

  39. Rob 39

    What do you think Helen and Cullen would be saying about this at the moment if it was a National Government in with Winston supporting them, and he had done this.

    They would be in boots and all demanding an enquiry and you The Standard would be supporting them and demanding the same.

    Doesn’t it all seem a bit hypocritical to you one standard for the left and one standard for the right (excuse the pun) You have to at leas take a neutral line on this because its really indefensible!!

  40. Matthew Pilott 40

    Well in a roundabout way we’ve agreed with the original topic, haven’t we, Mr Farrar, that the donation or lack thereof to NZF isn’t Labour’s business, even if that was your original (and later disowned) point. You’re on a different topic, whether Labour was assisting Glenn into a position (helping him to help us!) in an unorthdox or immoral fashion.

    The first any of this was raised was with Peters in person, late last year, as far as I recall – nothing too horrific there is it? Is he allowed to talk to people about it? So, what are the “perks” of this position, and what is the usual selection proecss? Does one normally send a letter to MFAT as you propose, or are you just winging it now?

    If it is a position of considerable benefit to the incumbent, and Glenn was being advanced at others’ expense and that was purely due to political donations, and you had clear links for all of the above, David, you might start to have a case. But you’re far, far from it.

    I actually think it is a pity Owen Glenn will now not be Consul. He said if appointed he wanted to organise beach volleyball parties for Kiwis. That’s my kind of lateral thinking diplomat.

    That takes the cake – maybe your lot should have left him alone, and he’d have the job. Well you and your mates sure put paid to that prospect. Job well done. Kind of resonates with National’s NZ Sucks campaign, but I think that takes it too far.

  41. randal 41

    david…none of that makes any sense. is it written by a machine to confuse people by pretending to say something when it actually says nothing? just like all crsobytext national purchases by the yard?

  42. ak 42

    David Farrar: being a donor should not be the reason you get appointed a Consul to represent the NZ Govt.

    Obviously. But of course he was not appointed (which you admit was a “pity”) so your continued pressing on this point is curious: any alleged lobbying by Mike Williams was at the least ineffective (and possibly counter-productive) so no ethical slur whatsoever can be directed at the PM – and the allegations against Williams are hardly devastating. Have National Party officials never committed such heinous “crimes” as promoting individuals for political postings?

    However, I admire your concern at the influence of wealthy individuals on our political process (though find it curious when the Right simultaneously denies the efficacy of such influence) – but I’m sure you have argued in the past that such influence is essentially indirect.
    That being the case, wouldn’t it be far more important to investigate instances of financial support to direct influences on voters? For example, if John Key (as recently reported) went out drinking with two TV reporters, who paid for the drinks might be of more interest to the public. As would any other party contributions to the fourth estate.

    And from a highly influential political writer like yourself, I for one would be most interested in a full revelation of any payments in cash or kind that you might have received or continue to receive from the National Party – particularly in light of your recent concerns about alleged Labour support for the Standard.
    Again, I applaud your desire for transparency and look forward to your full disclosure of interest.

  43. Matthew Pilott 43

    Rob, all things being exactly the same, I wouldn’t want some knee-jerk lynch mob to demand Key be given some mystical and arbitrary powers to find out “The Truth”, thankyou very much.

    You can hardly call something a double standard when the second standard is based upon your imagination.

    I think Winston should pay the price if he has lied. I believe the information will come out, whether it will be to his detriment – I am unsure. I’m just not buying into this guilt by association that’s being bandied about.

    Rex, suppose I accept your two premises, and the conclusion you extrapolate forthwith. What should Clark do, exactly?

    Today we’ve had calls for both “an enquiry” and “a public statement”, both at Clark’s behest. Would that suffice for you? What powers do we give such an “enquiry”?

  44. insider 44

    I’m close to Rex’s view on this.

    TransTasman today leads on the point that HC has commented on and demanded a report on Tony Veitch yet cannot comment on her minister’s actions.

    I also think Glenn has been treated pretty shabbily by NZ First and Labour.

  45. Daveski 45

    Agreed, Rex is bang on the mark. I also agree with Insider’s comments.

  46. vto 46

    dirty deeds

    done dirt cheap..

  47. Matthew Pilott 47

    Then I can pose the same question to insider and Daveski, as asked of Rex, above…

    Comparing TVNZ, an SOE, with another Political Party of New Zealand, doesn’t exactly put you two on the strongest ground. I feel a fruit analogy, but…resisting… Also interesting when the person in question is a Minister Outside Cabinet.

    I guess you could make the rules up regarding what you want Clark to do given the unique situation. So: what do you want?

  48. Matthew Pilott 48

    vto, I’m thunderstruck that you’d make such a comment.

  49. Felix 49

    The question of responsibility for one’s ministers does bring up he issue of having ministers outside of cabinet.

    Which is a pity, as until now it has seemed to work fine.

  50. Anita 50

    SP

    National is calling on Helen Clark to investigate alleged donations by Owen Glenn to New Zealand First (which, if they happened, were perfectly legal)

    They might have been, they might not have been.

    NZF’s conduct might have been legal, it might not have been.

    I can construct a scenario in my head where the Herald’s claim about OG’s email is accurate and his email was truthful and both his and NZF’s behaviour was legal.

    And another where they’ve both broken the law.

    It would be good to know that someone was going to figure that all out. It is, however, utterly clear that it is not Clark’s job.

    It does remind me how good it is that we now have somewhat better electoral finance law, so if it happened this year the legality would be much less murky. Although it would be good to have even better electoral finance law.

  51. Rex Widerstrom 51

    Matthew Pilott:

    Rex, suppose I accept your two premises, and the conclusion you extrapolate forthwith. What should Clark do, exactly?

    Today we’ve had calls for both “an enquiry’ and “a public statement’, both at Clark’s behest. Would that suffice for you? What powers do we give such an “enquiry’?

    The easiest solution would be to privately ask Mr Glenn for a clear statement of fact (and to make sure she includes donations to any handy backroom trust whose job it is to accept donations considered to be “for Winston” as opposed to those considered to be “for NZF”).

    An affidavit from Mr Glenn would end the matter entirely – aside from the conspiracy theorists who’d probably claim he was lying. But it would satisfy the majority of people I think.

    Assuming Winston is willing to allow unfettered access to the relevant accounts then any decent forensic accountant could undertake the task. If she doesn’t know any she can contact me and I’ll give her the name of an excellent Wellington-based one who’s court certified as an expert witness.

    Failing his willingness to provide such a statement, then her “powers” issue from her ability to pick and choose her Ministers, not from any statutory base – she can sack him.

    I suspect, though, that if Winston didn’t want to answer he would spit the dummy and stage a walkout like he did with the previous government. I’m sure the wethers on his backbenches will follow him.

  52. Felix 52

    Yep, and it wouldn’t be completely out of character for Winnie to pick a scrap in an election year and drag it out as long as he can.

    He knows he’s in real danger of being overlooked at the polling booth this year if he doesn’t make a lot of noise about something, and he’s got a bit of a knack for using negative publicity to his advantage.

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