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Hansard Transcript Of Peters Speech

Media Release

22 May 2002

Uncorrected Hansard Transcript of the Speech given by Rt Hon Winston Peters to the General Debate, Parliament, 22 May 2002.

Rt Hon. WINSTON PETERS (Leader--NZ First): A businessman once visited the office of Keith Holyoake, the former Prime Minister and Leader of the National Party, and he thought to remind Keith Holyoake of the donation he had paid to the party; whereupon Keith Holyoake had him thrown out at the suggestion that that would buy any influence whatsoever. Today the National Party is at the lowest ebb it has ever been. It takes money from crooks, it takes money from people who are proven to be corrupt, and it has sought to defend that and has placed in its political wing certain operatives from those businesses--all of whom have been proven guilty not in one court trial, but in numerous trials all the way to the Privy Council, the Court of Appeal, and the High Court. I question David Bradshaw's failure to act in the case of the cheque that was paid to the National Party back in 1996. I also question Mr Harris of the Electoral Commission's understanding of the law. The chief executive of the Electoral Commission has, in my view, got it wrong. The reality is that Fay Richwhite paid a cheque to *Geoff Thompson and he banked it. The real issue is: where is the audit trail? Second, why did Fay Richwhite pay the cheque to Geoff Thompson in the first place? The third serious question is, why on earth are they not complaining about what happened to their money? That is an inexplicable question at this point in time. Why does not the Serious Fraud Office find out who the payers considered they were paying? Who did Fay Richwhite Co think that they were paying the cheque to? The Electoral Act says, in respect of these donations, it means a donation that is received ``by or on behalf of'' the party or by any person, etc. Precisely into which account of Geoffrey Thompson's law firm, Macalister Mazengarb, was this cheque paid? Was it paid to get round this legislation or to use the defence of this legislation? Was the cheque paid to an account in Macalister Mazengarb titled ``New Zealand National Party''? If it was not paid into that account then National fails on this defence in the Electoral Act--and it raises the question of misappropriation and misuse of money. That course will only happen if the person who paid the cheque makes a complaint. To make out a crime or any illegality, the payer of the cheque must make the complaint. My question is: precisely into which account of Macalister Mazengarb went this cheque? To one titled the New Zealand National Party? For if it went anywhere else, then Mr Harris is wrong on the Electoral Act and the National Party is guilty of breaking the law when it comes to requirements of disclosure. On whose behalf was the cheque to be held, what happened to this money, and where is the audit trail? Is there any significance, as I believe there is, in the then President of the National Party running a company called Waipuna International, which was in serious financial trouble in the period about which I speak--March of 1996--at the time this money went missing. If members follow the various news reports of the time they will see that the company Waipuna International had a steam weed gun that was to have raised huge money internationally. But the company was in serious trouble, and then in July Mr Thompson wrote to the shareholders saying: ``Hold your shares. We are in a far better state of affairs than we thought.''
END OF TURN
Continuation Line [Did Mr Thompson apply that money to that ]
SE 16:02:27
Did Mr Thompson apply that money to that company's purpose, and does the audit trail show that? We now have the head of the National Party's accounting team, one by the name of Michael Cox, a former colleague of Mr Thompson saying to Mr Cox: ``Pay over otherwise I blow the whistle.'' Could that be a trivial matter? Could that be a matter of no account? No, he is blowing the whistle on a fraud. He has threatened to blow the whistle on criminality. I now ask why it is taking the Serious Fraud Office so long to get directly to that No. 1 question. The whole thing stinks, it is crook, and I said so at the time.


ENDS

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