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Peters Rejects TVNZ Allegations

Media Release

23 January 2004

Peters Rejects TVNZ Allegations

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.

“These allegations are rejected and for the record, the dates on which I went to the restaurant are as follows:

30 June 2003 – for which the accounts show that I paid by cash, was overcharged $145 by error. Mr Simunovich later called me to apologise and asked me to return to get the matter settled.

22 September 2003 – I attended the restaurant. Mr Simunovich, who was at the Brasserie next door came in, talked to me briefly and urged me to use my credit with a meal on the house. He stayed at my table for only a few minutes and did not mention the Scampi inquiry. (I have an independent witness to verify this)

25 September 2003 – I ran into a Cook Islands politician at the Viaduct who was with a close acquaintance of mine and they asked me to join them for lunch that they had already arranged at the Kermadec. They wanted to discuss the emerging Cook Islands fishing industry. I apologized for only attending briefly because of other commitments, cashed a $200 cheque at the restaurant, left my share with the table and departed early. The table had only one account.

“All of this evidence debunks the false and malicious claims of TVNZ. The allegation of not paying is refuted, as is the allegation of attending that restaurant every two months, as is the allegation that during the inquiry I dined with Simunovich and Wilkinson.

“My inquiries today reveal that I met with a wide range of fishing industry people in 2002 at their request. On 26 August 2002 I met with Simunovich and Wilkinson of Simunovich and Barratt of Sandfords in Auckland where I received a glass of water and a cup of tea.

“Those are the facts. I never received a free meal and it is irresponsible for TVNZ to keep broadcasting otherwise,” said Mr Peters.

ENDS

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