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The Peters saga, a summary

Written By: - Date published: 7:56 am, July 23rd, 2008 - 35 comments
Categories: election funding, nz first - Tags:

1 – In 2005, Owen Glenn paid $100,000 towards a legal defence fund for a case in Peters’ name.
2 – Peters was not told that Glenn had been a donor to that fund until last week according to both Peters and the lawyer Brian Henry. There is no evidence to the contrary. Neither Clark nor Key are accusing Peters of lying.
3 – There is a question of whether a legal defence fund should be declared in the registry of pecuniary interests or as a gift under Cabinet rules. It’s by no means clear that it should be. That’s what this issue boils down to – there is no suggestion of corruption, only potentially failure to comply with these two rules. This is being investigated by the Speaker and Cabinet officials. There is a further question over gift duty but inadequate information to go on at present.
4 – The Dompost has published allegations that the Vela family legally donated money to New Zealand First.
5 – Without providing any evidence (and despite the fact that the cheque pictured int he article clearly says ‘non-transferable’), the Dompost suggests that some of that money was diverted away from the party into Peters’ personal funds.
6 – Peters has not denied that the Vela’s made donations, he is under no obligation to reveal every legal donation to his party. Peters has stated he will sue the Dompost for defamation over its unevidenced allegations that he took party donations for his personal use.
7 – National refuses to rule out having Peters in a National-led Government based on the information available. They are calling on the Government to sack him on the available information.
8 – National wants the PM to investigate the internal finances of another party but refuses to open its own books.
9 – At the same time as these donations around Peters, National received over $2 million in anonymous donations funneled through trusts it set up specifically to hide the identities of its large donors. The practice is now illegal thanks to the Electoral Finance Act.
10 – Key has stated that National would repeal the Electoral Finance Act and make large anonymous donations and secret trusts legal again.

35 comments on “The Peters saga, a summary”

  1. Vanilla Eis 1

    Steve: Brian Henry.

    Otherwise, well said, except or the bit where National are calling for the Government to sack Peters – I don’t recall seeing that around? Of course, there are many right-wing commentators and whatnot saying such things, but I’ve heard English and Key both say things along the lines of “we’re desperately trying not to piss Winnie off, so stop asking us these questions!”

  2. Steve: what about the tax issues ? Did Winston pay gift duty on the 100,000 he was given (even if without his knowledge) to pay his legal bills ?

  3. Vanilla Eis. Yeah. maybe they haven’t said it directly, but they come pretty close

  4. mike 4

    “They are calling on the Government to sack him on the available information.”

    I may have missed this but do not recall National calling for his sacking.

    I have repeatedly heard Key asking for Helen to front up on the issue and asking her to get to the bottom of the serious accusations facing one of her Ministers though.

  5. vto 5

    Having complained before that nobody here was posting about thia matter I now find myself not bothering because of the partisanship involved. But some 2c..

    1. If Peters goes down for this it will be the epitomy of sweet justice.

    2. I label him Winston Bjeikle-Peterson because of the similarities. Yesterday that became even more so when the racing industry became involved, with all its attendant dirty goings-on. If you recall Joh B-P had a minister of racing called Hinz (I think) who was as corrupt as they come. The stars are aligning.

    3. It is not about whether or not there should be anon donations – it is completely about Peters two-faced actions. That he could never be trusted should now be apparent to all except those like that NZF member in the weekend who said he would think Peters was right even if he was wrong. ha.

    4. Divert – the EFA is a crock. If the labour left had wanted to rid anon donations then why didn’t they?

    Leave you to it

  6. higherstandard 6


    Once again the issue is not that Winston has got donations anonymous or otherwise that is a red herring it’s his outrageous

    ” no, no , no …. it’s a pack of lies, it’s all lies you should retract and resign, there’s no proof …….. oh actually my lawyer just told me I did get the donations after all”

    The man is the Mayor Quimby of NZ politics.

    Why bother trying to defend a man who is demonstrably a complete shite. I suspect Helen and John are secretly hoping they have seen the last of him over this – that they both continue to pander to this complete arse does neither of them any credit, nor does it do any credit to MMP as an electoral system.

    VTO .. you beat me to it.

  7. vto. “If the labour left had wanted to rid anon donations then why didn’t they?”.. because they couldn’t get the numbers. Clark said yesterday she would have outlawed anon donations if they could have found the support for it. As it was, they were facing strident well-funded opposition from National and its business allies who didn’t want any restrictions on secret money.

  8. polaris 8

    Clint – rubbish, and you know it. Labour were all set to crack down on anonymous donations, National was ready to support it, but Labour realised they desperately needed them so fixed it so they’re still allowed up to 10k. The same way they realised they needed Mr Glenn so fixed the EFB so overseas donors could still give money.

    It was quite shameless and well covered at the time. Your sophistry on this, as in all things, is absurd, but quite breathtaking.

  9. monkey-boy 9

    How did Owen Glenn know where to give the cash?
    Did he just wake up one morning and say ‘I know, I’ll give $100,000 to Labour’s potential ally. While I’m at it I’ll offer $250,000 to The Maori Party contingent on their support for Labour. Oh, and also I’ll loan a large amount to Labour seeings as that nice Mike Williams has taken the time to approach me?”

    If Peters had no knowledge of Glenn, was it Mike Williams, Labour Party President who directed Glenn to NZF?
    How is it that the cash was to assist Peters in his court case against; Bob the Builder? I mean what possible interest could Owen Glenn have in a poll victory against National?

    Because it seems coincidental that Owen Glenn is on record saying that he was up for a consulship with Wintson and Clark’s support under (with apologies to the Electoral Commission) ‘This Labour Lead Government’.
    Does it not look even a teensy bit like like Owen Glenn has been splashing cash around (with apologies to the EFA) ‘This Labour-lead government’ and its political allies with the expectation that he would be getting something in return?

    I made a missed call this week. I predicted that the political fall-out from this would involve a smear-campaign against Owen Glenn to discredit him as a witness in this. I was wrong. But then I remembered. Mike Williams is still on record saying he would go to Owen Glenn next time for a political donation to help ‘This Labour Lead Government’ to achieve another poll victory.

  10. Mike Collins 10

    Ok SP, which parties who voted for the EFA voted against anonymous donations? As far as I can see the votes of National, ACT and the Maori Party were not required so it doesn’t matter about their opposition where the will to ban anonymous donations comes in.

    “Neither Clark nor Key are accusing Peters of lying.” I wish they bloody would. It’s obvious to anyone who is not a NZF member or you SP that he is lying. Of course neither of those two will because they both lack the balls to do what is right.

    Captcha: be auditors. Are these purposely set or what?

  11. MacDoctor 11


    It would be nice if you could post on Peters without turning it into a National-bashing session. It would also be nice if you stopped posting lists that purport to be facts but are simply your opinion.

    But, hey, it’s your blog – if you want to post propaganda, its your prerogative.

    The (few) facts are:

    1. Winston Peters received $100k from Owen Glenn for legal expenses.
    2. NZ First received an unknown, but large amount, from the Velas.
    3. Owen Glenn was being considered for a honorary consul post in Monaco, despite this never being considered before.
    4. Racing receives funding from the government, against treasury advice.

    Whereas I can respect that Labour will be funded by, and serve the interests of, the unions and National will be funded by, and serve the interests of, business, I find it very difficult to justify the very personal tit-for-tat that appears to be going on here. This is not supporting a party because it broadly supports your beliefs, this appears to be funding to get a specific political deal.

    I am simply amazed that you can frenzy about the goings on in the hollow men, but try to brush off Peters’ (much more serious) shenanigans with a “nothing to see here, move on” attitude.

  12. monkey-boy 12

    Steve ‘they couldn’t get the numbers’ FFS you are kidding aren’t you? Is that how they managed to ram the Bill through with urgency just before Christmas, because they ‘couldn’t get the numbers’.

    That is the funniest thing I have seen all week, it’s even funnier than Tane’s ‘personality cult’ thing.
    Thankyou thankyou thankyou.

  13. polaris. If that was true then why was John Key on National Radio this morning sayig he would re-introduce large anonymous donations and secret trusts?

    monkey-boy… how does a person considering a large donation to National know that they ought to give the money to the Waitemata trust, which then funnels it? Who tells them?

  14. Daveski 14

    Not surprisingly, you omit the fact that Peters categorically stated that they had NOT received money from Glenn.

    Whether Peters knew or not is irrelevant AFTER he publically stated they did not receive money from Glenn.

    At no stage do you acknowledge this point which is the fundamental issue – the perception that a Minister has lied or at the very best mislead the public.

    As an aside, you’ve got to wonder why the lawyer didn’t say anything to Peters after his public performance.

    I can also sure that if this was say Key and National involved, your response would be diametrically opposed and hanging would be too good for them all.

  15. monkey-boy 15

    yeah ok steve – whatever. You got a job to do, I understand.

  16. Chuck 16

    If the labour left had wanted to rid anon donations then why didn?t they??.. because they couldn?t get the numbers. Clark said yesterday she would have outlawed anon donations if they could have found the support for it.

    Not quite. Labour would have outlawed anonymous donations if they could have found support to state funding of political parties. They probably had the numbers to get rid of anonymous donations.

  17. djp 17

    my summary

    – Peters is despicable as usual
    – Clark is gutless for not dealing with Peters
    – Key is a pansy for not calling out Peters
    – Even journos are calling for Winny to be sacked but Labour and National are strangely deaf
    – Politicians as a whole seem to be self serving snakes 🙁
    – Hide seems to have some integrity

    [lprent: my summary on your summary – djp and some “journo’s” are right and should be running the country.

    Tell us of your policies oh leader, when are you starting your party.

    Umm this reminds me of someone – oh yeah Winston in the early 90’s. Damn I just couldn’t resist that…..]

  18. I figure that now Farrar believes Peters you lot should too…


    I guess someone from HQ had a word in his ear:


  19. djp 19

    Robinsod I thought you were smarter then that?

    As I read it Farrar says he believes one specific statement:

    Winston says that donations by wealthy racing industry families did not affect NZ First’s racing policy.

    I actually believe him on this.

    What does that have to do with Owen Glen / 100K etc…?

  20. insider 20


    minor point but on #1 I thought Brian Henry had specifically said there was no specific defence fund and Peters said he knew nothing? Hard to imagine there being a fund for his benefit and WP not knowing about it.

    Might want to change that to paid 100k to Peters’ lawyer for costs of a legal challenge to the Tauranga election result.

  21. Matthew Pilott 21

    Monkey boy, a quick and bleedingly obvious point – Given that Glenn was seemingly funding interests that were opposed to National, why are you surprised he would want to contribute to a very well publicised and open battle against Clarkson in Tauranga?

    You’re approaching tin foil hat status here.

    Daveski, Peters was an idiot to hold up a NO sign when he knew that there were funding sources he was unaware of (if we are to believe politicians when they say they are unaware of funding sources!). Peters was also dumb to go on the offensive after this, but I see it as a deliberate ploy – those that support him love to see him rip into the media.

    Just like to point out that at no point in this post did Steve defend Peters for holding up a NO sign when there was the possibility, due to Peters’ incomplete knowledge of funding sources, that he would be wrong.

    It’s also a petty media side-show compared to some real issues that have arisen, but I suppose as far as sideshows go it’s not surprosing you would think it’s the main event – there was a big sign after all!

    Polaris, what a load of bollocks. Can you show me their policy for baning them anonymous and trust donations, should National win this year?

  22. Daveski 22

    MP – I didn’t state that SP had defended Peters for holding up a NO sign. The point was that SP had ignored that crucial point in his summary.

    The perception that Peters lied or mislead the public is the only real issue here.

    Neither Labour nor National have come out of this smelling of roses.

  23. ghostwhowalks 23

    My interest is where the copies of the cheques came from.

    Its not well known outside of banking circles that all cheques these days are scanned and stored on computer, instead of handling bits of paper that would need to be kept for 7 years or so as it used to be.

    It seems obvious someone in the banking industry who knows who NZ First account numbers are has just called up previous deposited cheques and this is the source of the information , of not only the amounts , but the payers details.

    This why they can produce an image for the front page.

    What can be done for NZ First accounts by breaking banking privacy laws can be done for ALL OTHER political parties.

    Could nationals secret donors be revealed the same way ?

    It must be making them nervous.
    However they usued a different method of ‘bundling’ their cheques in lawyers trust funds before a single cheque went to the party. large amounts in a lawyers trust fund would be very common.

    If its really a genuine leak , I would think nationals donors would be next, if its a NZ First hit by someone senior in one of the banks ( or Databank/EDS) then I think they wont touch National or Act or Peter Dunnes party

  24. Mike Collins 24

    Good point Ghost. As someone who works in a bank I was wondering about that myself.

    An alternative answer is that HSBC (Velas bank on the cheque image) released this image to their client as part of a voucher search request from that client – which would not be breaking any privacy laws.

    When there are allegations swirling that the money donated did not find it’s way to it’s intended recipient, it is valid speculation that the donors may have sought to clarify the instruction written on the cheque by asking their bank for a copy.

    As SP notes the cheque says non-transferable. Under cheque law he is correct to state that this must only go into a bank account of the written payee. However the wise know that this does not always occur as it should – mistakes and “mistakes” happen.

  25. monkey-boy 25

    Thank you for reading my post Matthew.
    “Given that Glenn was seemingly funding interests that were opposed to National, why are you surprised he would want to contribute to a very well publicised and open battle against Clarkson in Tauranga?”

    In secret, mind. So secret, mind that even Winston did not know who his benefactor was. Actually, it appears that Winston went into the case completely oblivious of the costs. Never once did he say to his barrister ‘How are we going to pay for this little filibuster?”
    Never once did the lawyer say ‘Relax we have had a benefactor give us $100,000.”
    Never once did Winston put himself in a position to join the dots and draw a possible link between this and the $100,000 the media asked about and the donations to his court case.
    Not once did he perhaps see a possible link between that and the sum outlined by Dail earlier in the year.
    Not once did the lawyer see a link between the $100,000 and this amount when Winston denied it publically in February.
    It didn’t occur to anyone, to check with the Lawyer, or for the Lawyer to have a quiet word in Winston’s ear when he was holding up the ‘NO’ signs for the media.
    When WInston called for the editor and political editor of the Herald to be sacked or to resign, no one thought to say ‘Hang on a minute – didn’t we get $100,000 given to us to fight the Clarkson thing, and wasn’t that mentioed in February.. hmmm I wonder if…”
    But no. Here in Lala – Land this whole stinking covert set of double-dealings is equated to (somehow) how evil the National Party is.

    Then to the case of Glenn donating to those opposing National Oh puleeze! Maybe in a world where it’s black and white ‘them against us’ and in which tobacco-vending arms-dealing global oil-polluters become nice-guys overnight because they donate to a ‘good cause’. But not in the real world, sonny-jim.

    Glenn was donating to those who were willing to be bought, and who in return would give him an honourary consulship. Let’s not even start on teh benefits a FTA brought his oil-tanker business.

    Matthew, if I need a tin-foil hat, I suggest you need to invest in some very thick lead .

  26. gobsmacked 26

    Peters didn’t know because he was informed about the dodgy donor by e-mail. But he says “I didn’t open it”.

    And everybody accepts his word.

    Good enough?

  27. Rex Widerstrom 27

    Steve, I could offer you the “evidence” (or at least sworn testimony) that you’re absolutely wrong on point 2 (and casts some doubt on 4 and 5) but given that Winnie’s said he’s suing the DomPost in a clumsy attempt to gag them I’d want you to at least have an affidavit from me before you “published” (via me pushing the ‘submit’ button).

    Or you can just accept my word on it. You’re being misled, and given that I’ve had conversations with several journalists and made them aware of what I know, and have some idea of who else they’re talking to and what other evidence they’re collecting I’m virtually certain that – unless the writs have the intended effect – the Sergeant Schultz routine isn’t going to wash much longer.

    Points 7 on I agree with you – there’s the stench of hypocrisy in National’s statements on this. I’m particularly disgusted that Key won’t rule out dealing with this discredited bunch of seat warmers and their slippery leader post-election. Mind you, I’m equally disgusted that Clark won’t do so too.

    As I said in a comment yesterday, the leader who came out and said “We’ll have no truck with shady donations and questionable denials” would win more support from pissed-off swinging voters than they’d lose by alienating NZF, which will probably be non-existent after the next election anyway.

  28. Matthew Pilott 29

    Monkey boy, please stop going off into irrelevant tangents and somehow trying to relate them to a point I made, or I won’t respond to your posts in future. Let’s look at what you said:

    How did Owen Glenn know where to give the cash?


    If Peters had no knowledge of Glenn, was it Mike Williams, Labour Party President who directed Glenn to NZF?
    How is it that the cash was to assist Peters in his court case against; Bob the Builder? I mean what possible interest could Owen Glenn have in a poll victory against National?

    to which I responded

    Given that Glenn was seemingly funding interests that were opposed to National, why are you surprised he would want to contribute to a very well publicised and open battle against Clarkson in Tauranga?

    To reiterate – I pointed out that there’s unlikely to be a vast conspiracy regarding why Glenn donated to NZF, given the publicity surrounding Peters’ case against Clarkson. That’s all I was saying. I never mentioned that the donation was secret. That’s not my point and has nothing to do with whether Glenn would be able to decide for himself who to donate to.

    Regarding one of your other (unrelated) points, donations are meant to be anonymous so that the politicians can’t be seen to be favouring someone based upon donations.

    Have you considered that Peters’ entire legal fund was made up of donations, of which Peters did not know the source? And that this is for a good reason…

    As I said in my original post, it was stupid of Peters to make the “NO” statement. No one seems to disagree with that point (you didn’t even seem to notice that I made it, judging by your subsequent rant, though it was directed at daveski). After all this, his lawyer decided to break with policy, presumably afetr the email came to light, giving Peters knowledge of a donation. What is your problem with that? He was stupid to make the statement, maybe he should have given it some more thought, but it’s not the grave conspiracy you’re lathered up in.

    As for your allegations against Glenn, spare us your amateur posturing and mind-reading thanks. If Glenn was giving money to people “who could be bought” (and what evidence have you that Labour has been bought – what a scummy low-life accusation! The donations may have been purely for Glenn’s self interest, which is fine, but you’re just spinning bollocks here), why do you think that the donation to NZF was anonymous?

    How do you ‘buy’ someone when they don’t know you have paid? You’re the one banging on about the donation being so secret! Take a sec to think before you type next time, and put that hat back on.

  29. vto 30

    The winebox affair found that everything was quite legal. But Peters maintained that doesnt matter – it was unethical.

    The Tuku Morgan undies affair found that everything was quite legal. But Peters was happy with it that time – ethics didnt come into it.

    The Owen Glenn affair may find that everything is quite legal. What and where are the ethics? What will the clown do this time? Whatever suits his own purpose – legalities and ethics are Peters’ malleable moralities.

    This is what I despise about him (but they all do it so maybe what I despise is that he gets away with it all the time and is so self-righteous and arrogant about it)

  30. Rex Widerstrom 31

    vto – very good examples. But less us not forget the “Antoinette Beck” affair, when Michael Laws was protesting that he “didn’t know”, “someone in his office did it”, and similar weak excuses that echo Winston’s own over the past few days.

    Winston – quite rightly – decided that the stench of corruption and lies was growing too much to bear and that no matter whose fault it was, the man at the top – in this case Laws – had to fall on his sword (in fact Laws – despite his “how noble wast I” spin, had to be dragged kicking and screaming and thrown on his sword but that’s another story).

    Winston was particularly incensed that statements had been made in the House which turned out later not to have been true – again, as has happened in this case.

    So why should the outcome be any different?

  31. PaulL 32

    Rex, you really need to write a tell all book (and stay in Australia for a while afterwards). It’d be a best seller.

  32. Of course Steve you are forgetting the donations that Glenn gave to the Labour Party, denied by Party hierarchy then embarrassingly admitted. You call that hypocrisy Steve.

    [lprent: You mean the ones that are publically declared donations.

    Now I consider that you’re attacking one of the writers with a standard troll lie. Just had a look through your previous comments. They are generally of an adequate standard.

    So I’m only banning you from this site for a week. If you want to argue I’ll happily make it permanent.]

  33. Swampy 35

    “I’m particularly disgusted that Key won’t rule out dealing with this discredited bunch of seat warmers and their slippery leader post-election. Mind you, I’m equally disgusted that Clark won’t do so too.”

    Well this is the legacy of the useless MMP political system. Jenny Shipley looked the same in 1999 with Tau Henare and Alamein Kopu.

    Back to FPP.

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