Owen Glenn’s letter to the Privileges Committee contradicts Winston Peters’ previous statements to the media, the Privileges Committee, and, presumably, the PM. Glenn says that Peters did personally approach him for a donation, contrary to what Peters has said.
It’s important to remember that there’s nothing illegal or even unusual about what Glenn claims Peters did. But politically it is very serious. If we are to accept Glenn’s statement of events, Peters denials could see him sacked as Foreign Minister, other Ministers have been sacked for similarly misleading the public.
But is Glenn’s statement right? The letter is actually pretty vague as to when and where Peters supposedly asked Glenn for money for his challenge against Bob Clarkson’s victory in Tauranga at the last election. Peters says the meeting Glenn appears to be refering to occurred before the 2005 election, so Peters couldn’t possibly have asked him for money for the law suit at that stage. Peters also says Glenn has the year and details of a subsequent meeting wrong.
Who to believe? Glenn, frankly, seems like a bit of a flake and it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s got details wrong. On the other hand, Peters is one of those politicians that tends to leave you with a feeling he hasn’t been entirely straight with you.
If the PM finds that Peters has been dishonest with the public and needs to be sacked, it won’t bring down the Government but it could threaten the passage of the ETS, which is a worry. Ultimately, the public gets to decide whether they believe Peters and will have the opportunity to pass their judgment in less than twelve weeks.