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Public and Peters deserve a non-political hearing

24 June, 2004

Public and Peters deserve a non-political hearing, say Greens

The Green Party has today asked the Prime Minister to initiate a commission of inquiry into serious allegations involving NZ First leader, Winston Peters.

"A public inquiry conducted under the auspices of a respected, non-political panel is necessary in the interests of fairness to Mr Peters and countering any public perception that party politics might influence an inquiry conducted by MPs," said Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.

"The allegations aired in the House and reported in the media are serious. While the principle of MPs being judged by their peers is important, this case touches on too many party-political interests and needs to be taken out of a party-political environment.

"I'm sure Mr Peters would welcome the chance to refute these allegations before a neutral panel and the public could also then have confidence in the process."

Although the affidavit alleging improper behaviour on the part of Mr Peters had arrived on the desk of Green MP, Ian Ewen-Street, Ms Fitzsimons stressed that the Green Party had no position on the allegations and no agenda against Mr Peters.

"Ian assures me that the affidavit arrived in an unmarked envelope and that he then went to the Clerk of the House for advice on what to do with the document," said Ms Fitzsimons. "The advice was to pass it on immediately to the Chair of the select committee dealing with fisheries issues, which he did."

ENDS

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