Winston poisons the well of forgiveness
A minister without portfolio - ie. a salary and limo but no responsibility - gets censured in parliament for contempt and the PM reckons its fine. She had already pre-judged the committee's decision. No action taken. The minister is being investigated by the SFO and the police and pursued by the electoral authorities with some heavier allegations also in the background. No action taken beyond a "stand down" from his portfolios. Labour rank and file must find this hard to stomach.
Would National have done the same thing in Labour's position? Probably. Look at Shipley's government - what a bunch they were. Same situation now as then - chronic third termitis with a taint of opportunism and captured by the Wellington bureaucracy. But Peters is caught out being a lying, hypocritical arsehole to the point of rule-breaking and Helen Clark is prepared to wear it. She deserves to pay for that call.
Labour puts the boot in:
Winston Peters is intent on taking down the Labour Party with him.
He’s succeeded in further souring relations between Labour and the Maori Party, that’s for sure. Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is absolutely furious with Labour over some phone calls from Parekura Horomia, who he claims has been trying to heavy Sharples into voting against the censure motion involving Peters.
Further, Sharples claims NZ First got a staff member to set up a meeting with Te Ururoa Flavell, the Maori Party representative on the privileges committee, at which the staffer allegedly tried to persuade him to join Labour and the NZ First Party and vote against the censure recommendation.
Winston puts the boot in:
"More importantly, the Maori Party refrained from jumping to any conclusions about his behaviour until we had seen and heard all the evidence presented to the Privileges Committee.”
Dr Sharples said the party's representative on the Privileges Committee, Te Ururoa Flavell, presented a very clear analysis of his findings on the matter to the House yesterday at 4.00pm. “The Maori Party concurred with his analysis and, therefore, despite any personal feelings of support for Winston, our caucus was well prepared to make the hard call on his behaviour on the basis of the evidence provided,” he said.
"An attack on our credibility over this issue by Winston is totally out of order, and without any substance at all," said Dr Sharples.
And the Maori Party ask themselves again, as the rest of the country does, just what magical Winston mojo makes Clark defend him so. The Maori Party MPs have bent over backwards to be fair to Winston and have issued no critical comment, nor have they sought to exploit the situation. They watched in silent disgust as the episode played out - and then, with all the evidence, made a sober judgement which was transmitted soberly and unaccompanied by any grandstanding. And Winston turns on them too.
Cullen in parliament yesterday said only three censure motions had been passed against MPs in the last fifty years. It was a serious enough breach of the standards to warrant the contempt proceedings. Many lefties (esp. Trotter) have run many lines of defence for Winston in spite of the overwhelming evidence. If Helen changed her mind one minute from now, the next minute they would be posting that Winston is a filthy lying scumbag - I have no doubt about that whatsoever. Their partisanship is the only thing transparent in this saga.
Horomia was on National Radio just now down-playing it all - though not really denying it. Winston says he knows nothing of the staff allegation. It's the boy who cried wolf now, there are so many things he claims he didn't know about: