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Winston Peters To Respond To Bribe Allegations

A spokeswoman for Speaker Jonathan Hunt has confirmed this afternoon that NZ First Leader Winston Peters has been given a week to respond to allegations that Ross Meurant solicited a bribe on his behalf from parties involved in the Primary Production Select Committee's Scampi Inquiry.

The spokeswoman said that Mr Hunt had spoken to Mr Peters in relation to the matter. He had a week to respond to the allegations barring unforseen developments.

Mr Peters meanwhile has issued a statement saying that he has taken legal advice in relation to stories carried on the matter by TVNZ and Radio New Zealand.

Mr Peters said the legal advice he had received was that the, "so-called 'affidavit' would not make it into an episode of the [award winning HBO TV series about the Mafia] 'Sopranos' let alone any court."

"This 'affidavit' is actually a Television New Zealand document which TVNZ has been sitting on since January this year and has now mysteriously found its way to Parliament.

Mr Peters said he had instructed his lawyers to take appropriate action against Television New Zealand, Radio New Zealand and others.

According to news reports the affidavit from Yvonne Teresa Dossetter, the former partner of former National Party MP - and former NZ First staffer - Ross Meurant was given to the speaker by National MP and Primary Production Select Committee chairman David Carter.

Mr Carter in turn received the affidavit from Green MP Ian-Ewen Street who, according to Radio NZ, passed it on to David Carter because it contained information which was beyond his scope to deal with.

According to ACT MP Ken Shirley speaking in the general debate this afternoon Ms Dossetter alleges in her affidavit that Mr Meurant solicited a payment of $300,000 from Siminovic Fisheries boss Peter Simunovich to be deposited into an Australian bank account.

Mr Shirley said that Ms Dossetter alleged that the payment would be helpful for interests involved in the Scampi inquiry being undertaken by the Primary Production Select Committee.

(continuing.)

Further backrgound From Top Scoops Monday, 26 January:

Winston Peters Front-foots Corruption Allegations From TVNZ
Rt Hon Winston Peters has rejected fresh allegations on TVNZ tonight that: - During the Scampi inquiry in 2003 he went to the Kermadec restaurant between three and ten times. - Went to the Kermadec about every two months. - Never paid his account. - Cashed “rats and mice” cheques for fifty dollars. - Was seen dining at the restaurant with Peter Simunovich and Vaughn Wilkinson during the inquiry. See...Peters Rejects TVNZ Allegations [1] and Legal Action To Be Taken Against TVNZ [2] MORE: - National - Nats Reject Involvement In Winston Peters Saga [3] - TVNZ - TVNZ Stands By Its Winston Peters Story [4]

[1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/PA0401/S00180.htm
[2] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/PA0401/S00179.htm
[3] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/PA0401/S00190.htm
[4] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/PO0401/S00056.htm

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