Monday, 22 September 2008

Privileges Committee to censure Peters

Bustedblonde has heard from an impeccable source that the committee is going to formally censure Peters for being in contempt of parliament and they will demand that he files a return to the Registrar of Pecuniary interests that he got $100k from glenn and he will have to do that in a few days.

Act fought for Winston to be suspended but courage, honesty and integrity were in short supply among the other MP's.

Ralston seems to have similarly good sources.

This from Ralston

I’m picking that tomorrow afternoon Parliament’s Privileges Committee will report to the House that Winston Peters is in contempt of Parliament and move to formally censure him.
It is also likely to demand he quickly file a return to the Registrar of Pecuniary Interests that he received a gift of $100,000 from expatriate billionaire Owen Glenn.
I do not believe the committee will seek, as the ACT Party recommended, that Peters be suspended from Parliament. Nevertheless a formal censure by Parliament will be a humiliating blow to the New Zealand First leader.

These findings are likely to come in the form of a Majority Report from Privileges. In all likelihood Labour will continue its last ditch defence of Peters by issuing a Minority Report seeking to mitigate the damage to Peters’ political reputation and career.

I expect the Majority Report of the Privileges Committee to underline the fact that Mr Peters misled the committee, Parliament and the Prime Minister on the Glenn donation.
Because it was outside the terms of the original complaints in the Privileges’ case, the committee will not deal with the separate issue of another $40,000 paid to Peters’ lawyer Brian Henry from the Spencer Trust to pay legal bills that was never disclosed to the Electoral Commission. That information, however, could be included in the Serious Fraud Office document that will be attached to the report.

The SFO document can be made public because although it was taken as evidence in “private” it was not formally in “secret”. A small but important point in aiding the public’s right to know the truth beyond the barrage of claim, counter claim and ever changing stories that have come from the New Zealand First leader during this saga.

If it issues such a damning report the Privileges Committee will have come to no other conclusion, based on the weight of evidence and testimony put before it, that Peters had received the gift and should have declared it.
The committee meets at 4.30pm today to formally consider further representations from Winston Peters and his lawyer Brian Henry who have seen the draft report but I think there is little either can say that would change the minds of the majority of the committee.
The report, if it is in line with my predictions above, should spark a ferocious debate in the House tomorrow. ACT leader Rodney Hide will see this as vindication of his complaints and probably portray the Majority Privileges Committee Report as a slap with a wet bus ticket.
National will use the decision as a sharpened wooden stake to drive through the heart of the Labour-led government. To have a minister (albeit currently “without portfolio”) censured by Parliament and found in contempt is blatantly untenable for Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Labour will fight the censure motion and Helen Clark will argue that Peters cannot be dismissed because she has already said she wants the due process followed and she is still awaiting the outcome of the Serious Fraud Office investigation.The outcome of the last few weeks is a serious blow to both the government and its sidelined Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Winston Peters’ and New Zealand First’s credibility, for all but his most steadfast supporters, will be in tatters. He will be seen to have consistently misled everyone over the affair and it will be acknowledged that he did receive a substantial $100,000 gift from a benefactor that he should have publicly declared but did not. The SFO information on the $40,000 donation is likely to show that the Spencer Trust channelled funds to New Zealand First that it should have declared to the Electoral Commission but did not.
The reputation of both the Prime Minister and her deputy on the committee Michael Cullen, must also be severely tarnished as Labour stubbornly, desperately, refuses to admit it was wrong to support Peters in this affair and continues to twist and turn to try and retain him on board for a few more weeks.
Today’s Dominion Post story by Phil Kitchin stating that former NZ First bagman Ross Meurant will return to New Zealand and give evidence to the SFO ensures the fallout from the Peters affair will continue up to and including the election campaign.



Oswald Bastable said...

Sentenced to be savagely beaten with a wet bus ticket.

I suppose my hopes for Hanging, Drawing and Quartering were always a little optimistic...

Protocole Odessa said...

Lies Lies Lies, they all Lie, who cares?

I say Vote NZ First to show the Dirt Digging Scandal Searchers That We Want Policy not Pish!

Vote NZ First and Stop the Dirt Diggers