Winston Peters: The hustler
Winston Peters is a dishonourable, lying, manipulating, corrupt bullshit artist. That's what the evdience points to (working on adding the Suminovich hush-money allegations into the diagram).
His magic tricks end once we get to see behind the curtain. The deal only works so long as nothing is on paper to link Winston's initial solicitation of the donor to the donor's payment to his lawyer. Winston's fingerprints can't be anywhere near it. He's given us numerous assurances that he knows nothing about who the donors are. Since he hussles at social functions and it's amongst chums he's fine. Bob Jones broke that rule because he was so insensed with Winston's behaviour, but backed off co-operating with the authorities. Owen Glenn on the other hand is far away from any consequences (in Monaco) and he didn't get the bauble love he thought he paid for (honorary diplomatic post in Monaco) and so he writes this letter to the Privileges Committee - critically:
I am happy to cooperate with you about the $100,000 payment that I instructed to be made on or about 20 December 2005, which I believe was to the practice account of Mr BP Henry, an Auckland barrister, detailed below.
The payment was made by me to assist funding the legal costs incurred personally by Rt Hon Winston Peters MP concerning his election petition dispute, at his request. Mr Peters sought help from me for this purpose in a personal conversation, some time after I had first met him in Sydney.
Winston says in response: "at his request" is not factual and does not coincide with my recollections. I believe that I met Mr Glenn many years ago and on the weekend of 13 August, well before the 2005 election, in Sydney, Bledisloe Cup weekend which is the only time I met him in Australia.
Glenn: I agreed to help in the belief that this step would also assist the Labour Party, in its relationship with Mr Peters. I supported the Labour Party.
I have never made any donation to the New Zealand First Party. I declined an earlier request to do so.
Winston: I have no knowledge of where and by whom any donation to New Zealand First was requested. I note Mr Glenn does not say I made it, or any donation was made, which is the substance of the New Zealand Herald 12 July allegation. Reported email in the New Zealand Herald, in fact contradicts his comment in his letter before you about donating to New Zealand First.
Glenn: I understand that Mr Henry is Mr Peters' lawyer. I do not know Mr Henry. I do not believe that we have met. I do not recall that I, or my assistants, had any discussion or communication with Mr Henry other than to receive remittance details.
Mr Peters subsequently met me socially at the Karaka yearling sales, I believe in early 2006. He thanked me for my assistance.
Peters: relating to the Karaka Sales 2006 appears to be a year out. I recall that in 2007 (and my diary confirms this) Mr Glenn and two others joined the table in which I and a friend shared a sit down lunch with about 8 leading names in the horse racing fraternity.
In my evidence to the committee and in my press statement of 18 July I did not thank him until my lawyer advised me on 18 July 2008.
See what he's saying: ..."I did not thank him until"... He's not saying he didn't know about it. As for the other things Glenn says, Winston answers it in the method of a rebuttal, but the actual substance of Glenn's points do not seem to be effectively contradicted beyond that stuff "does not coincide with my recollections", ie. trust me.
Winston may be skirting along the technical boundaries of honesty with the Privileges Committee, but has he deceived the Prime Minister on these matters? On the face of it - if Glenn's letter, Bob Jones' previous public testimony of Winston asking him directly for donations, and the Simonovich hush-money allegations is anything to go by - yes he has. There seems little room for manoeuvre. The outcome of the committee will depend on Labour's MPs, but it is not looking too good right now for the hustler.
A strong and decisive Prime Minister would dismiss Winston Peters from his ministerial positions - such a Prime Minister would receive a lot of cross-party and public kudos. This would cause him to claim a set-up with her mate, Owen Glenn. This would mean he will vote against them in a confidence motion. This would force the Prime Minister to announce the election date.
Riding on that bold move would be a strong way to start a campaign and potentially eliminate NZ First completely from the parliamentary scene; or force a tainted Winston to support a National government that would in turn be tainted by him and perhaps facilitate an early election or at least a difficult term.
The odds on an early election have just shortened this morning.
Parliament begins at 2pm this afternoon.