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Winston cannot continue in Parliament

Winston cannot continue in Parliament. The Kiwi Party
Press Release
July 21, 2008

The Kiwi Party Leader Larry Baldock is calling for Winston Peter’s immediate sacking as a cabinet minister.

"The seriousness of Mr Peter’s failure to disclose donations must be clearly understood, said Mr Baldock.

"Let’s first of all establish what has been acknowledged by the Leader of NZ First himself.

"Owen Glenn’s gift was not to the NZ First Political Party but to Winston Peters personally.

It was used to pay legal bills that were his personal obligation and therefore any claim that the gift was to some independent fund are ridiculous.

"Every MP is required annually to declare all gifts received during the course of the year that is valued at $500 or more.

Winston’s declarations for 2006, 2007 and 2008 do not show any gifts received that would relate to the Owen Glenn donation or the other gifts, amounting in total to $200,000, that his lawyer, Brian Henry has said were received.

"Brian Henry’s comments that MPs and Party leaders should not know where gifts come from are in violation of Standing Orders passed by Parliament in August 2005. The Standing Orders require all such gifts to be declared & failure to do so is a breech of Parliamentary privilege. Those requirements can not be overridden by an arrangement between Winston Peters & his lawyer which involves non-disclosure of gifts received. If the donation was for a political party Mr Henry’s comments may have some merit, but Winston has repeatedly stated that Owen Glenn’s donation was not for NZ First.

"Any arrangement Winston makes with his lawyer does cannot override his responsibilities as an MP. It is inconceivable that Winston would not be given an update by Mr Henry on the status if his legal bills from time to time, even if Mr Henry did not disclose the identity of any of the donors. That would mean that Winston would be aware he was receiving gifts and he would therefore have an obligation to declare those gifts. He did not, and has therefore misled Parliament and the people of New Zealand. He should be sacked as a Minister and in due course the Privileges committee should recommend his expulsion. Failure to do so will result in Parliament's standards being lowered yet again.

"Winston deserves no special treatment. After 24 years experience he has no excuse. In my opinion, this is not some small oversight but a scheme concocted between Mr Peters and his lawyer to hide information he knew would be politically damaging, said Mr Baldock.

"Furthermore since there is a clear conflict of interest in Winston as the Minister of Foreign Affairs receiving a gift from someone like Owen Glenn who has made it clear that he would like to be the New Zealand’s Honorary Consul in Monaco, as soon as Winston became aware of the situation he should have immediately returned the gift," said the Kiwi Party Leader.

ENDS

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