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Peters scrapes bottom of the barrel with innuendo

8 September 2004

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Mr Peters’ well-worn innuendo is scraping bottom of the barrel

"Helen Clark should enquire whether any government agencies are feeding Mr Peters' allegations about Ahmed Zaoui that they won't have tested by competent authorities" said Matt Robson today.

"Mr Peters has used parliamentary privilege to make baseless allegations that Mr Zaoui knew a Mr Zaza, supposedly a well known ‘high security risk’, before he came to New Zealand and that his lawyers had been pre-arranged by Mr Zaza.

"Unfortunately for the Peters' story Mr Zaoui did not select his present lawyers until almost four months after his arrival when the Refugee Status Appeal Authority insisted that he (Mr Zaoui) be able to appoint lawyers in whom he had confidence. The lawyers assigned to him on his arrival then withdrew. Mr Peters would do well to read the 223 page RSAA decision before he proclaims on this matter again.

"I have spoken to Ahmed Zaoui about Mr Zaza. He did not know him before he sought asylum in New Zealand. Mr Zaza came with the lawyers who were initially appointed from a register of immigration lawyers.

“It is a pity that the media cannot also talk directly to Mr Zaoui when Mr Peters throws his customary innuendo around to raise his own profile.

"Winston Peters is well aware that he can slander Ahmed Zaoui in Parliament, as he did in question time yesterday, but that those self-same allegations could and should be heard in a properly constituted forum. He is reaching the bottom of the barrel, even for him, of his well-worn bag of tricks."

"Ahmed Zaoui, 21 months in prison without charge, is trying to have natural justice applied through the courts. It is despicable that Mr Peters is attempting to sabotage that process by misusing parliamentary questions.

"It is clear that there are probably those within government agencies who are collaborating with Mr Peters in an attempt to undermine the present court actions initiated by the lawyers for Mr Zaoui. This should be investigated."


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