It appears, as everyone suspected, that Owen Glenn did give a donation to New Zealand First. There is nothing illegal or immoral in that. Under the law at the time anonymous donations of any sum were legal and National was the biggest exploiter of that fact, receiving over $2 million in secret donations in 2005 (thankfully, the Electoral Finance Act now makes those practices illegal).
But Winston Peters should not have lied when asked. He would have been totally within his rights to stick to National’s line: ‘we don’t discuss donors’. Better yet, he could have done what Labour did and tell the truth.
So what now? Peters was talking in his capacity as leader of New Zealand First, not Foreign Minister and, while he may have lied to the media, he didn’t mislead Parliament. That means calls for him to be sacked as Foreign Minister are just politicking by opportunists.
If Peters has lied to the public as New Zealand First’s leader, then it is for his party and the voters to punish him. And voters should punish him, as they should punish any politician who lies to their faces.
At least, now the EFA is in place, we won’t have to go through this rubbish over secret donors again.