Peters admits $100,000 donation | ELECTION 08 | ONE NEWS | tvnz.co.nz [an error occurred while processing this directive]
Peters admits $100,000 donation

Winston Peters has admitted billionaire Owen Glenn made a $100,000 contribution to his party.

The donation issue overshadowed the annual conference in Auckland where New Zealand First delegates were celebrating 15 years as a party.

Peters has been forced to admit ex-pat Glenn gave money to a legal fund used for a failed bid to show National candidate Bob Clarkson broke the rules to beat him in the Tauranga seat.

Earlier this year ONE News asked Peters whether he ever received any money from Glenn or any of his associates. "No to every one of the allegations you have made," Peters replied.

Peters continued to vehemently deny Glenn donated any money but has now revealed Glenn gave $100,000 to help with his legal costs after the 2005 election.

Peters defended his actions to delegates, claiming he had no knowledge of the funds being given. He says he was only informed on Friday night by his lawyer, Brian Henry, that the money was given to help with his legal challenge to the outcome of the Tauranga election result three years ago.

He says Henry advised him that in 2006 he personally spoke to Glenn and arranged payments for any donations the billionaire businessman wanted to make towards the legal expense.

Peters says the payment by Glenn was legal and that since 1991 he has been involved in 14 litigations involving donations.

"Mr Glenn did make a contribution to that legal case, he did not make a donation or contribute to New Zealand First the party or to me personally."

He is so far refusing to apologise to the New Zealand Herald and its political editor, whom he labelled malicious and a liar for printing the allegations of Glenn's payments last week.

"They are categorically wrong, they got all the facts wrong and I still say they should apologise to you and the public and do their duty and resign," says Peters.

Adding to the sensitivity is reports that Glenn wants a job as New Zealand's honorary consul to Monaco - a position Peters would have to sign off as Foreign Minister. But Peters says the job does not exist.

And the Foreign Minister is also batting off claims he met with Glenn on his trip to Europe.

"That allegation is baseless, totally false and I had my staff confirm just in case I may have seen him on the street accidentally - I didn't."

The National Party is questioning whether Peters has acted ethically and responsibly.

Deputy leader Bill English says it is up to the Prime Minister to say why she took no action to get to the bottom of her Foreign Affairs Minister's contradictory claims over the past week.

"Helen Clark has to answer some questions like why she believed and trusted Winston Peters and not her good friend and big donor, Owen Glenn. She could have just picked up the phone to find out whether Owen Glenn had donated money," says English.

And one of Peters' rivals for the Tauranga seat is also not convinced by his explanation. Independent Gray Eatwell is demanding an inquiry under the Electoral Finance Act, saying Peters' account contradicts previous comments by New Zealand First MP Dail Jones.

"Some months ago NZ First MP Dail Jones publicly stated that the NZ First Party had received a large donation some time last year. Mr Jones held an official position in the party prior to being appointed as a list MP therefore any claim that the party did not know of the donation is totally untrue," Eatwell says.

Eatwell says Peters and NZ First should be held to account over the matter.

Peters said Jones could have got confused over documentation and it may have been better if journalists had spoken to the Treasurer.

And Peters is adamant neither he nor Glenn has done anything wrong. He says there is something wrong when an ex-pat who believes in his country wants to help and is then pilloried in his own country.

Source: Newstalk ZB/ONE News

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